Tag Archives: climate action

Long Islanders Join Statewide Rallies for Climate Action, Tell Schumer to ‘Resist Trump’

Long Islanders join statewide rallies for climate action to tell Senator Schumer to act as a leader and ‘Resist Trump’ © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Long Islanders join statewide rallies for climate action to tell Senator Schumer to act as a leader and ‘Resist Trump’ © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

“Resist Trump” was the chant by some 300 environmental activists who rallied outside Senator Charles Schumer’s Long Island office in Melville during a statewide day of action, February 2. Similar rallies were being held at all eight of Schumer’s offices throughout New York State to demand that he show bold leadership to protect public health and the environment by telling Senators to use every tool at their disposal to challenge the corporate takeover of our democracy and reject Trump’s nominees and policies that would decimate the climate and the environment.

“Schumer’s announcement on January 30 that he will vote against several Trump nominees is a sign that he is hearing the message coming from the grassroots. Voting against oil and gas insiders is just the first step to resisting Trump’s anti-environmental agenda—bigger battles over drastic EPA budget cuts, clean air regulations, climate change, and fossil fuel drilling are on the horizon,” stated Eric Weltman of Food & Water Watch, the leading organizer of the Long Island rally.

Eric Weltman of Food & Water Watch: “As the nation’s most powerful Democrat, Schumer must lead the resistance.” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Eric Weltman of Food & Water Watch: “As the nation’s most powerful Democrat, Schumer must lead the resistance.” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Donald Trump has wasted no time in setting out a clear agenda that threatens fundamental environmental protections. With clean air and water under attack, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer must lead his colleagues in standing strong against Trump’s science-denying Cabinet appointments and his climate-destroying plans,.

Weltman declared, “As the nation’s most powerful Democrat, Schumer must lead the resistance. He must vigorously oppose cabinet appointments, lead the charge against Trump’s plans to slash EPA budget, dismantle the EPA, resist plans for the Dakota and Keystone pipelines. He must motivate his fellow Democrats.

“Each day, we are sicker, more depressed, more fearful,” said Lisa Oldendorp, National Grassroots Organizer for Moveon.Org. “As difficult as these days have been, we are more worried about the days ahead. The small gains in climate action will be overturned, we will go back 70 years to the point of no return…

“Trump’s friends are not concerned about our future of the country or the planet. Their only god is profit. They are determined to frack more land, pollute more air. Make America Great Again? No, make a small group of millionaires even richer, plundering our lands.

Lisa Oldendorp, National Grassroots Organizer for Moveon.Org: “We’ve had a few weeks to mourn the election. Not it’s time to get off the pity pot and take action.” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lisa Oldendorp, National Grassroots Organizer for Moveon.Org: “We’ve had a few weeks to mourn the election. Not it’s time to get off the pity pot and take action.” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“You may have said you are tired of fighting. That it’s hopeless. But you must continue to fight for environmental, economic, racial, social justice. Turn your anger into action for change…. A Small group of citizens can change the world. One person becomes a group, a group becomes a crowd. People power grows exponentially. Don’t tell me people’s protests don’t matter. They build consensus, a movement.

Long Island environmental activists tell Senator Schumer, “Resist Trump” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Long Island environmental activists tell Senator Schumer, “Resist Trump” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The anti-Trump movement already eclipses the Tea Party at its height by 20 points. Democrats are finding our voice. Dissent and protest is happening on a greater scale. The New York Times in an editorial said Democrats simply cannot play by the old set of rules now that the Republicans are playing by new ones. [Neil] Gorsuch doesn’t deserve confirmation [for the Supreme Court] because the process leading to his nomination was illegitimate.”

Democrats have to mobilize for the local elections in 2017, try to flip the House and/or the Senate and take more state positions in 2018.

“We’ve had a few weeks to mourn the election. Not it’s time to get off the pity pot and take action.”

Ryan Madden, sustainability organizer for the LI Progressive Coalition, said the Trump election is a Trojan horse for corporate interests. “Pruitt, Sessions, Perry – every one a threat to the climate, the environment and our institutions… Attacks against environment, climate have the worst impacts on folks with the least ability to do something about it.” It’s a matter of economic and climate justice.

Jane Fasullo of the Sierra Club: “There is no alternate planet” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Jane Fasullo of the Sierra Club: “There is no alternate planet” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Jane Fasullo of the Sierra Club said simply, “There is no alternate planet. You can’t eat or drink money – maybe you can burn it for heat. Schumer, do your job.”

Dave Denenberg and Claudia Borecky of Clean Air Water Soil declared, “We want leadership from Schumer… We thought fracking was over in New York State. It might be coming back.” The Navy was the responsible agency for cleaning up the Grumman plume at Bethpage, Trump wants to walk away from paying for clean up, he said.

Dave Denenberg and Claudia Borecky lead a new environmental advocacy group, Clean Air Water Soil © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Dave Denenberg and Claudia Borecky lead a new environmental advocacy group, Clean Air Water Soil © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

People carried signs such as “Tax Carbon. Trump Too.” “Tell the Con Man in Chief: You Can’t Fool Mother Nature. Take Climate Action.” A young boy held a sign, “Please don’t break my planet.” Others urged Schumer to “Resist Trump” and “Be a Leader.”

Just two weeks into the Trump Administration, resistance to Trump already exceeds that of the Tea Party at its peak © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Just two weeks into the Trump Administration, resistance to Trump already measureably exceeds that of the Tea Party at its peak © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The group then marched through the parking lot to the front of Schumer’s Long Island office and a few of the leaders, who had appointments, hand-delivered petitions, reporting back  that they were well received. “We’ll be back,” he said.

The simultaneous actions took place at all eight of Schumer’s New York offices (Buffalo, Rochester,  Syracuse,  Binghamton,  Albany,  Peekskill,  Melville and Manhattan), as well as in Washington, DC.

A boy carries a sign, “Please don’t break my planet.” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
A boy carries a sign, “Please don’t break my planet.” © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Sponsoring organizations include: Food & Water Watch, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Sierra Club, NYPIRG, MoveOn, Long Island Activists, Reach Out America, Slow Food North Shore, iEatGreen, 350.org, Long Island Clean Air Water & Soil, Public Citizen, Greenpeace

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© 2017 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at  www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

 

Shoring Up His Climate Action Legacy, Obama Bans Future Oil Drilling in Atlantic, Arctic Ocean Areas

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

WASHINGTON – President Obama has taken action to ban future mineral extraction from huge sways of offshore areas in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans to protect these ecologically sensitive marine environments from the impacts of any future oil and gas exploration and development.

Obama used a little-known law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect large portions of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the Arctic and a string of canyons in the Atlantic stretching from Massachusetts to Virginia. In addition to a five-year moratorium already in place in the Atlantic, removing the canyons from drilling puts much of the eastern seaboard off limits to oil exploration even if companies develop plans to operate around them.

The announcement by the White House was coordinated with similar steps being taken by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to shield large areas of that nation’s Arctic waters from drilling.

The withdrawal does not restrict other uses of these federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf, and will help to sustain commercial and recreational fisheries in the Atlantic to support fishing-dependent communities, as well as the harvest of marine resources on which many Alaska Native communities rely for subsistence use and cultural traditions.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell applauded President Obama’s announcement saying, “The President’s bold action recognizes the vulnerable marine environments in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, their critical and irreplaceable ecological value, as well as the unique role that commercial fishing and subsistence use plays in the regions’ economies and cultures,” Secretary Jewell said. “The withdrawal will help build the resilience of these vital ecosystems, provide refuges for at-risk species, sustain commercial fisheries and subsistence traditions, and create natural laboratories for scientists to monitor and explore the impacts of climate change.”

The withdrawal areas announced encompass 3.8 million acres in the north and mid-Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast and 115 million acres in the U.S. Arctic Ocean. Including previous presidential withdrawals, the {resident’s action protects nearly 125 million acres in the offshore Arctic from future oil and gas activity.

In the Atlantic, the withdrawal decision protects 31 canyons, extending from Heezen Canyon offshore New England to Norfolk Canyon offshore of the Chesapeake Bay. The largest, Hudson Canyon, reaches depths greater than 10,000 feet, comparable in scale to the Grand Canyon, which is 6,093 feet at its deepest. The canyons are regions of enhanced biodiversity, home to numerous species including deep-water corals, deep-diving beaked whales, commercially valuable fish, and significant numbers of habitat-forming soft and hard corals, sponges and crabs.

The canyon region is home to several fish stocks managed as Highly Migratory Species, including commercially valuable marlin, sailfish, swordfish, tuna and sharks. These geologic features also provide important habitat for a number of protected species including beaked, sperm and sei whales, many of which show an affinity to canyon ecosystems as compared to other Atlantic waters.

The President’s action will preserve critical ecological hot spots, helping to protect habitats important to Atlantic fisheries. The designation also affords long-term opportunity for research and exploration, and helps ensure that species dependent on the canyon habitats are protected. It also builds on protections established by the recent creation of the Frank R. Lautenberg Deep Sea Coral Protection Area. This protected region, created by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Fishery Management Council and approved by NOAA, prohibits bottom trawling in all the canyons in the region.

In addition to numerous requests from local and regional officials to protect these offshore resources, 145 prominent marine scientists issued a public letter in September 2015, voicing their conclusion that the threats to the unique marine environment in this region warranted permanent protection to preserve intact ecosystems. These concerns are informed by a number of research findings, including a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study that found ocean temperatures in the Northeast U.S. Shelf are projected to warm three times faster than the global average and a climate vulnerability assessment on fish and invertebrate species in the region that concluded warming oceans due to climate change threaten the majority of fish species in the area, including salmon, lobster, and scallops. The President’s action builds on his establishment of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which protects 4,913 square miles of marine ecosystems located 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod. The withdrawal protects major Atlantic canyons that are not in the National Monument.

The President’s Arctic withdrawal, which encompasses the entire U.S. Chukchi Sea and significant portions of the U.S. Beaufort Sea, will provide critical protection for these vibrant and fragile offshore ecosystems, which are home to marine mammals and other important ecological resources and marine species on which many Alaska Native communities rely for subsistence and cultural traditions. These include several species of seals; Pacific walrus; polar bears; more than 98 fish species; a number of whale species, such as the bowhead, gray and beluga; many bird species, including waterfowl such as eiders, long-tailed duck and geese; and shorebirds such as the red-necked phalarope.

“Risks associated with oil and gas activity in the remote, harsh and undeveloped Arctic are not worth taking when the nation has ample energy sources near existing infrastructure,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, the Director of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. “Oil spill response and clean-up raises unique challenges in the Arctic and a spill could have substantial impacts on the region, particularly given the ecosystem fragility and limited available resources to respond to a spill.”

The withdrawal does not affect existing leases in these federal offshore waters and would not affect a nearshore area of the Beaufort Sea, totaling about 2.8 million acres, that has high oil and gas potential and is adjacent to existing state oil and gas activity and infrastructure. While there are significant concerns about oil and gas activity occurring in this area, it will be subject to additional evaluation and study to determine if new leasing could be appropriate at some point in the future. Interior’s five year offshore leasing program for 2017-2022 does not include lease sales in this area or in the withdrawn areas.

The U.S. Arctic Ocean is characterized by harsh environmental conditions, geographic remoteness, and a relative lack of fixed infrastructure and existing oil and gas operations. Despite the substantial steps this Administration has taken to improve the safety of potential Arctic exploration, there would still be significant risks associated with offshore drilling operations and the consequences of an oil spill in this region could be substantially detrimental to the ecosystem.

Climate change-induced temperature increases are occurring fastest in Polar Regions, including the U. S. Arctic, resulting in a disproportionate amount of changes to the Arctic environments, including reduction in seasonal ice cover. Loss of sea ice coverage reduces the available habitat for ice-dependent species such as seals, polar bears, and Pacific walrus. Such conditions and stressors may increase the vulnerability of these species and habitat and reduce their resilience to impacts of oil and gas activities.

The Arctic withdrawals build on past actions the President has taken to protect fragile ecosystems and build resilience in the face of climate change, including the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience AreaChukchi and Beaufort Seas areas placed off limits to oil and gas leasing earlier this year; and the Bristol Bay withdrawal in 2014.

Further scientific analysis related to the President’s withdrawal proclamation is available here for the Arctic and here for the Atlantic.

Maps of the areas related to President’s withdrawal proclamation are available here for the Arctic and here for the Atlantic.

Where to Take the Fight for Climate Action in Wake of Trump Assault

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and a member of the Climate Security Working Group, speaking on “The Consequences of Climate Change: A National Security Perspective,” says the planet cannot afford 4 or 8 years of reversals on climate action if we are to avoid topping 2 degrees more. By 2065, there will be a hundred million desperate climate refugees. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and a member of the Climate Security Working Group, speaking on “The Consequences of Climate Change: A National Security Perspective,” says the planet cannot afford 4 or 8 years of reversals on climate action if we are to avoid topping 2 degrees more. By 2065, there will be a hundred million desperate climate refugees. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, laid out a rather dire forecast of “The Consequences of Climate Change: A National Security Perspective,” in remarks at a Great Neck, NY synagogue. He couldn’t help but register a bit of panic over the incoming Trump Administration and its crew of climate-deniers and Big Oilmen.

“We have gone from ecstasy before the election to despair,” he says. We can’t afford to lose ground over the next 4 or 8 years.”  That’s because once the earth heats more than 2 degrees, “it is enough to start the process to the point where it is unrecoverable. We will accelerate so fast that by the end of the 21st century, we will see dire developments.”

It was reminiscent of how George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, two Texas oil men, reversed course on President Bill Clinton’s climate action, especially when Al Gore, a foremost climate change activist, was robbed of the presidency. Trump threatens to be even more dangerous because the planet is heating up more quickly than forecast, the arctic ice sheets are melting faster than predicted, and Trump has made clear his intention to reverse course on Obama’s progress, put the brakes on transitioning from a carbon-emitting economy, and go back to promoting fossil fuel development.

Wilkerson didn’t dwell on the public health aspects of climate change, but on how drought, famine, wildfires and sea level rise making coastal and island communities and even US naval and military bases, uninhabitable, would create national security challenges. Indeed, if you thought that a few million Syrian refugees could destabilize European democracies, think what hundreds of millions of climate refugees, would mean.

“By 2065, you are talking about machine guns on the border shooting people.”

We’ve actually already seen that happen: when police snipers murdered two black men as they tried to cross the Danziger bridge to flee New Orleans flooding after Hurricane Katrina.

Superstorms like the tsunami in Indonesia, the super typhoon in the Philippines, Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy that supposedly shouldn’t happen except once a century are hitting at least once every decade.

The US military is already concerned, but is unable to do anything for fear of being perceived as acting “politically.” As a result, “sea rise alone, will force the DoD to cannibalize its own budget, diverting 10 to 20% of its $600 billion budget to make its military installations resilient. “The air force at Langley already has days when jets can’t take off because the runways are flooded.”

“The military has no question at all about the climate changing and changing rapidly and that it’s changing faster” than previously projected, he said.

“The military sees the risk, wants something done. They don’t want to be the only ones who watch and then become the hammer, manning the machine guns on the border.”

Wilkerson did not offer much in the way of solution, beyond his organization, Climate Security Working Group, lobbying Congressmembers individually (he said he had a hopeful meeting with Joni Ernst and Charles Grassley). That is futile, though, because you have a Congress and a Trump Cabinet that is wholly in bed with donors from fossil fuels.

Wilkerson said he was an “optimist.” But what a difference a couple of weeks makes.

Trump has doubled down to undermine Obama’s climate action efforts and reverse the transition to clean, renewable energy, after feigning that he was “open-minded” in an interview with the “failing” New York Times, and a pretend meeting with Al Gore. Trump says he will shut down NASA’s Climate Research division, pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and reverse course on Obama’s Clean Power Plan (which his pick to lead the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is fighting to overturn in court).

Trump’s transition team has demanded the names of all Department of Energy employees and contractors who have attended climate change policy conferences; many have reported a climate of intimidation, and there is fear of a witch hunt. (The agency said it would not comply.)

He is installing Oil Men and Climate Deniers in key governmental positions. His pick for Secretary of State, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, not only has oil deals with Vladimir Putin, but vigorously supports the Trans Pacific Partnership, which empowers corporations to sue localities for “lost profits” when they adopt regulations for environmental protection.

Instead of a Nobel laureate to head Energy, he is installing former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who couldn’t even remember the name of the agency when he said he would shut it down.

What’s left to be done?

Some might naively think that technology will save us, when the situation really becomes dire.

Some of the proposals call for “geoengineering” – launching shields to keep the sun’s rays from the earth to slow the warming (what about the solar energy needed to produce food and solar energy?). “This is like playing god,” Wilkerson said – an ironic statement considering the climate deniers typically are in the camp that says God wants the earth to heat. Not to mention the cost.

Indeed, by the time societies are that desperate, it will be too late to reverse the impacts.

On the other hand, the despairing realization that Planet Earth may be doomed is what is behind Elan Musk’s Mars shot (something that is being made clear in the “Mars” television series).  “He is doing it because he wants to hedge the bet (on continuation of the humanrace). But how many can pay $20 million for a seat on a rocketship?”

“To us in military, one of clearest indicators there are people who understand the depth of the problem, but doing something serious – getting off this planet. They know there is a real chance this planet may become uninhabitable.

“We have put more people on the face of earth since 1900 than the previous 5000 years, reaching a global population of 7 billion, and by the next century, there will be 3-4 billion more. That ain’t going to happen, not without dire circumstances.

I find myself rooting for other nations to treat the US, the world leader on climate action under Obama, as a pariah, especially if Trump tears up the Paris Climate Agreement, and that they slap carbon fees on US goods, and that the UN and international Court prosecute the US for actions that result in the death and unliveability of lands. They should sue for damages and reparations.

We need to fight corporations that are not making the transition to clean energy – boycott products, fight permits, cram stockholders meetings, or alternatively, divest and drive down stock prices of offending corporations and climate deniers. Sue to recover costs when pollution impacts public health or damages the environment, require new projects to be designed sustainably and address clean energy and water. Block rate hikes and actions of utilities that refuse to adopt the Clean Power Plan standards.

Launch lawsuits over pollution that impacts public health, recover costs for remediation, require new projects to address clean energy and water; block rate hikes and actions of utilities that are refusing to adopt the Clean Power Plan standards; divest and drive down the stock prices of offending corporations and climate deniers.

We need to back organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund, Earth Justice and Natural Resources Defense Council, and League of Conservation Voters.

The EDF has a good strategy: tripling the size of its legal team; ramping up investments in state-based work to modernize the electric grid and advance clean-energy policy (EDF co-authored the first ever statewide bill to limit carbon emissions in California, which has created nearly 1 million new jobs and made California the nation’s leading clean technology patent developer).

The League of Conservation Voters is funding a campaign that goes hard after every dangerous executive action, nominee, and vote in Congress, coordinating with allies in new ways so that nothing slips through the cracks; plans to bolster allies in the Senate to stand strong, use their bully pulpit, and form a “green” firewall to beat back congressional attacks that require 60 votes to pass; hold key elected officials accountable, especially in the Senate, for their votes, words and actions, and expose those who push Trump’s anti-science agenda; mobilize hundreds of thousands of grassroots activists, activating grassroots networks and standing in solidarity with allies across the progressive movement; working with states to advance solar, renewable and other sustainable solutions; and lay the groundwork for 2017 and 2018 elections, where key Governor and Senate races are already unfolding.

We need to protest, to occupy, to boycott, to sue, to conduct unrelenting shaming campaigns of companies, corporate executives, investors and politicians who put short-term personal gain over long-term havoc, and if necessary, impeach – impeach an EPA Administrator who does not abide by the Clean Air, Clean Water acts. Impeach a Secretary of Health & Human Services who does not advocate for public health. Impeach a president who violates his Constitutional oath and sets aside national security for self-enrichment.

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© 2016 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at  www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Obama POWER Initiative Adds More Economic, Workforce Development Resources for Coal Communities

Coal on barges, Pittsburgh. Obama’s POWER Initiative invests in economic revitalization and workforce training in coal communities across the country. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Coal on barges, Pittsburgh. Obama’s POWER Initiative invests in economic revitalization and workforce training in coal communities across the country. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

FACT SHEET: Administration Announces Additional Economic and Workforce Development Resources for Coal Communities through POWER Initiative 

As part of President Obama’s continuing efforts to assist communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector, today the Administration is announcing the second round of grants awarded this year as part of the POWER Initiative’s “POWER 2016” funding opportunity that invests in economic revitalization and workforce training in coal communities across the country.  The awards announced today, totaling nearly $28 million, will support 42 economic and workforce development projects in thirteen states that are building a strong economic future in communities, and targeting various industry sectors, including manufacturing, information technology, agriculture, housing, and tourism and recreation.  The awards are administered by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative is a community-based Administration effort involving ten federal agencies working together to align, leverage and target a range of federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to assist communities and workers that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy sector.  The POWER initiative exemplifies a collaborative approach to federal partnership with communities that President Obama and his Administration have steadily advanced, which focuses on improving coordination across federal agencies, tailoring federal support based on local needs and priorities, encouraging local long-term strategic planning, and relying on data and evidence to inform solutions that work.

The POWER Initiative is the primary economic and workforce component of President Obama’s broader POWER+ Plan, part of his FY 2017 budget request to Congress.  There is bipartisan legislation in Congress consistent with two of the President’s POWER+ proposals that could have a significant positive impact on workers, communities and retirees in coal country, and complement the POWER Initiative’s investments.

  1. The Miners Protection Act (S. 1714) and its House companion, the Coal Healthcare and Pensions Protection Act (H.R. 2403), mirror the President’s proposal to transfer federal funds to strengthen the solvency of the largest multi-employer pension plan serving retired coal miners and their families, and to extend health care coverage to additional retirees, more than twenty thousand of whom will start to lose their existing coverage at the end of this year.
  2. The RECLAIM Act (H.R. 4456), which is consistent with the President’s proposal to invest $1 billion in projects that link abandoned coal mine reclamation to economic development strategies, while stimulating economic activity and job creation in hard hit coalfield communities.

Congress has the ability to pass this legislation before the end of the year and send it to the President’s desk for his signature.

The awards announced today are from a competitive POWER federal funding opportunity that the ARC and EDA released in March of this year by to provide implementation, planning and technical assistance grants.

POWER Implementation Award Summaries:

  • $3,000,000 ARC grant to Friends of Southwest Virginia in Abingdon, VA for the Building Appalachian Spring: Growing the Economy of Southwest Virginia project. This comprehensive project will significantly enhance the outdoor recreation industry as an economic driver in a four-county region in southwestern Virginia. ARC funds will be used to develop four access points to the New River that strategically link the river to nearby communities’ hospitality and tourism services; construct a 4,000 square foot Gateway Center to the High Knob Recreation Area – providing visitors with more centralized access to numerous nearby recreation assets; build an Appalachian Trail Center in downtown Damascus; and create a 30-mile, multi-use trail connecting Breaks Interstate Park directly to downtown Haysi’s business district.  The project will increase travel expenditures in project locations by $30 million over the next five years, create 60 new businesses and 200 new jobs, and is supported by funding from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
  • $2,220,000 ARC grant to the Industrial Development Authority in Wise, VA for the Virginia Emerging Drone Industry Cluster Project. ARC funds will be used to position five counties in southwestern Virginia as a national destination for the development of a drone-operator workforce to support the emerging drone industry in the United States. The award will enable Mountain Empire Community College to offer courses that train students, including former coal industry workers, to operate drones and drone sensors to provide commercial and government services – including geospatial surveys, close-up inspections of fixed structures, and mapping. The award will train 64 new workers, leverage $15,000,000 in additional investment, and enable a private aerospace company in the region to perform work on a major contract – thereby creating 210 new direct and indirect jobs.
  • $2,040,000 EDA grant to the City of Bluefield, WV to support development of the Bluefield Commercialization Station project. Under this project the city, in partnership with the Shott Foundation, will rehabilitate and transform an existing 50,000 square foot freight station into an incubator to serve new and existing businesses. This project will provide high-tech business services including prototype development, product design and development, retooling, and supply chain assistance. This project will support the creation and retention of 72 jobs, expand at least 12 local businesses, and leverage $510,000 in private investment.
  • $1,800,000 ARC grant to the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation Inc. in Corbin, KY for the Appalachian Wildlife Center Infrastructure project. ARC funds will be used to install water infrastructure at the future site of the Appalachian Wildlife Center, a conservation education and research facility. The Wildlife Center facility — located on 19 miles of reclaimed mine land — will feature the largest elk restoration and viewing effort in the United States. The facility will be modeled on the successful Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, Pennsylvania. The project will position a 10-county region in the tri-state area of southeastern Kentucky, northeastern Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia as a national tourist attraction, and will create 86 new jobs.
  • $1,747,806 ARC grant to the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in Chapel Hill, NC for the Building Entrepreneurial Communities: The Foundation of an Economic Transition for Appalachia project. The project will build and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in an 18-county region covering southeastern Ohio, southern West Virginia, and southeastern Kentucky. Project activities include establishing a support system that can identify and develop new entrepreneurs; assisting new and expanding businesses with skill development; and connecting entrepreneurs with existing capacity-building resources in the region. The project will create 72 new businesses and 250 new jobs.
  • $1,558,850 EDA grant to the City of Belpre, OH, which, in partnership with the Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District, will implement an infrastructure improvement project and extend sewer service two miles north of the city along Ohio Route 7 to accommodate large employers and businesses in the area. The completed project is projected to contribute to the retention of existing jobs and the creation of up to 255 new jobs, and to leverage over $3 million of new private investments.
  • $1,502,938 ARC grant to Marshall University Research Corporation in Huntington, WV for the Sprouting Farms project. The project will facilitate the development of a vibrant agricultural industry in a nine-county area in southern West Virginia by educating new farmers, launching farm businesses, and jump-starting wholesale market channels, all while encouraging business and farm sustainability. ARC funds will be used to implement workforce and farm business accelerator training programs; secure and upgrade the project site and facilities; and provide direct business support and employment to new agricultural businesses and program graduates. The project will create 20 new businesses and 33 new jobs, and leverage $961,475 in additional investment.  Additional funding is being provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.
  • $1,501,499 ARC grant to Marion County, TN for the Marion County Regional Center for Higher Education Phase II & III project. ARC funds will be utilized to construct a 30,000 square foot educational facility that will house new technology and industrial training programs. The project will also conduct outreach to displaced workers from the Widows Creek Power Plant – a coal-fired facility in the area that was recently retired. The project will train 109 people for careers in advanced manufacturing and information technology, and will improve 20 existing businesses in the region.
  • $1,422,965 ARC grant to Hocking College in Nelsonville, OH for theAppalachia RISES (Revitalizing an Industry-ready Skilling Ecosystem for Sustainability) Initiative. The project will leverage the expertise of regional education, business, and government entities to deliver comprehensive workforce training services in employment fields that meet current and anticipated industry needs in North Central Appalachia – including advanced energy, automotive technology, petroleum technology, welding, and commercial driver’s license (CDL). The project will train 306 workers over the life of the award, and primarily serve a 17-county region covering southeastern Ohio and central West Virginia.
  • $1,420,219 ARC grant to Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC) in Cedar Bluff, VA for the Southwest Virginia Regional Cybersecurity Initiative. The initiative brings together three colleges in southwestern Virginia – SWCC, Mountain Empire Community College (MECC), and University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVa-Wise) – and aims to position this seven county southwestern Virginia area as a regional hub for the cybersecurity industry. Specific activities will include creating a certification/credential program aligned with industry needs and National Security Agency guidelines; providing support services to cybersecurity start-up companies that locate to the region; and expanding UVa-Wise’s existing bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity through an accelerator space in which cybersecurity companies can co-locate research and development activities. Additional funding for the project is being provided by the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.   The project will train 161 new workers, and retain 110 jobs.
  • $1,000,000 ARC grant to the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises, Inc. (FAHE) in Berea, KY for the Appalachian HEAT Squadproject. ARC’s investment will be utilized to improve the energy efficiency of low-income homes in coal-impacted communities across a nine-county region in eastern Kentucky — while also creating entrepreneurial and skills-based training opportunities in the area. The project will partner with Hazard Community and Technical College and the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) to deliver the entrepreneurial education and construction training component, and with two other training organizations to increase the skill-base for private housing contractors operating in the region. The project will create or retain 119 jobs, increase the quality, affordability, and performance of over 270 homes, and leverage $525,000 in private investment.
  • $790,118 EDA grant to the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, UT, in support of the Coal Pitch Technical Plan. Working in partnership with the University of Kentucky, the University of Utah is addressing the regional and national contractions in the coal economy by examining new commercially-viable uses for coal byproducts. The project will evaluate the feasibility of converting coal pitch to carbon fiber to produce lightweight, high-strength composites that are increasingly in demand by manufacturers in automotive and other sectors. This grant will be used to produce, test and classify coal pitch carbon fiber, design a regional supply chain map, and pair workforce needs with the economic impact of the conversion process/market.
  • $662,567 ARC grant to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA for the Southwest Pennsylvania Economic GardeningInitiative. ARC funds will diversify the business operations of supply chain industries in a 10-county region in southwestern Pennsylvania.  Working with Catalyst Connection (the regional Manufacturing Extension Partnership), the project will focus on small manufacturing establishments (SMEs) in the coal supply chain by providing  mini-grants to targeted firms that enable the most impactful business development strategies to move forward quickly and efficiently – with a specific emphasis on increasing access to advanced manufacturing technologies. In addition, the project will target freight and logistics firms operating along the waterways of southwest Pennsylvania to increase their competitiveness by identifying and prioritizing new markets and opportunities. The project will create or retain 330 jobs, serve 55 supply chain businesses, and leverage $25,000,000 in private funds.
  • $649,958 EDA grant to Western State Colorado University, in Gunnison, CO, in support of the Innovation, Creativity, & Entrepreneurship (ICE) House and ICE Accelerator Innovation Center project. The ICE House will feature a collaborative co-working center and innovation lab for community and campus entrepreneurs to work together and support each other’s creations. Grant funds will be leveraged to attract investment from angel networks and venture capital firms to create new job opportunities for the City of Gunnison’s workforce, and provide stable and high-wage economic diversification beyond the coal and hospitality industries that the local economy is currently reliant on.
  • $500,000 ARC grant to Innovation Works, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA for theRevitalization of Southwestern Pennsylvania Coal-Impacted Communities through Innovation and Entrepreneurship project. ARC funds will be used to implement five different but complimentary programs designed to deliver a variety of benefits to entrepreneurs and small businesses in a nine-county region in southwestern Pennsylvania – including the provision of human resource services to early-stage, high-growth companies, and training services for existing small businesses. Programs will target entrepreneurs who were formerly employed in the coal industry, coal-fired power plants, and suppliers to those industries. The project will create 65 new jobs and 7 new businesses, leverage $1,100,000 in additional investment, and retain 30 existing jobs.
  • $499,480 ARC grant to RAIN Source Capital, Inc. for the Appalachia Angel Investor Network project. ARC funds will enable the awardee to work with existing and new angel investment funds to enhance the capability of coal-impacted communities across 9 Appalachian states to make investments in start-up, early stage, and growth companies. Specifically, the project will create at least four new angel funds in target communities, and will provide tools, training, and support services to existing angel funds and networks already operating in Appalachia. The project will result in the creation of 20 new businesses and 100 new jobs, and will leverage $4,000,000 in private investment from 100 investors.
  • $400,000 ARC grant to Erwin Utilities in Erwin, TN for the Temple Hill & Bumpus Cove Broadband project. ARC funds will be used to install 35 miles of fiber optic cable on existing pole lines – allowing business and residential subscribers in Temple Hill and Bumpus Cove access to broadband services. The area does not currently have cable broadband available and DSL service is not offered ubiquitously.  Tourism expansion is a major economic driver in the area and increased bandwidth will help expand the tourism industry and revenue base.  The project will serve 680 households and 30 businesses, and will act as an economic driver in a three county area in northeast Tennessee, which has been adversely affected by the closure of a major rail yard as a result of the decline in coal shipments.
  • $362,989 ARC grant to the Center for Rural Health Development, Inc. in Hurricane, WV for the WV Rural Health Infrastructure Loan Fund project. ARC funds will assist in capitalizing a revolving loan fund designed to strengthen the health care industry in a 25-county region in central West Virginia. In addition, the award will provide technical and business development assistance to existing health care providers with business-related needs. The project will create or retain 65 jobs, yield $1,000,000 of financing for health care businesses, and provide 216 organizations with technical assistance.
  • $353,086 ARC grant to the Town of Unicoi, TN for the Mountain Harvest Kitchen Incubator & Entrepreneurial Training Program. ARC funds will purchase equipment for a shared-use, commercial kitchen where value-added processing of locally-harvested products will take place. Entrepreneurial training will be offered by partner organizations including AccelNow, the Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development Council, and the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension for start-ups and established businesses in the agricultural sector. The program will serve a nine-county region in northeast Tennessee and northwest North Carolina, create 30 new businesses and 60 new jobs, serve 91 trainees, and leverage $1,200,000 in private investment.
  • $301,916 EDA grant to the Centralia College Robotics Workforce Trainingproject in Centralia, WA.  This award will help fund a workforce development project in alignment with a strategic plan designed by the Lewis Economic Development Council with support from an EDA POWER 2015 planning grant in response to the retirement of a local coal power plant. The project will support the acquisition of equipment for use in a workforce training program at Centralia College, which will train the region’s workforce to use the most current robotics technology. Prospective employers and supporters of the program include The Boeing Company and the Fluke Corporation.

 

POWER Planning Grant and Technical Assistance Award Summaries:

  • $960,000 EDA grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) in Harrisburg, PA, in support of theRepositioning Pennsylvania’s Strategic Assets project. In partnership with FirstEnergy, Exelon, regional and economic development organizations, and potential buyers, DCED will coordinate efforts to evaluate the potential of commercially repurposing retired coal-fired power plant sites throughout the state. These sites are often located on strategically valuable real estate located along rivers and often near downtown areas. They have critical infrastructure already in place and feature rail and road access, and water, sewer, and transmission lines, and therefore hold the potential for commercial redevelopment and subsequent economic diversification and job creation.
  • $400,000 EDA grant to the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) in Washington, DC in support of theTechnical Assistance for Coal Communities project targeting Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah. The project will provide technical assistance to communities whose economies have been severely impacted by the declining use of coal, and will build on the success of the Innovation Challenge for Coal-Reliant Communities, a program that the co-awardees jointly implemented from 2014 to 2016 with the support of the EDA. Community leaders will participate in intensive training workshops, and receive peer networking opportunities and mentoring resources related to economic diversification, job creation and long-term, place-based economic development strategies.
  • $375,000 EDA grant to Citizens Energy Group, in Indianapolis, IN, in partnership with the City of Indianapolis, the Central Indiana Community Foundation and local community development corporations.  The award will fund the development of a site assessment and reuse and implementation strategy for a former coke coal manufacturing facility located in the Indianapolis Promise Zone. The project will identify potential reuse strategies for the site, including redevelopment for manufacturing companies that support economic diversification and workforce development strategies to foster local and regional economic resiliency.
  • $300,000 EDA grant to the Coconino County Career Center in Flagstaff, AZ, in support of the Northern Arizona Regional Resilience Initiative. The project will develop a strategic plan designed to strengthen regional economic resilience through reduced dependence on the coal industry and increased economic diversification. Project activities will include the identification of in-demand workforce development programs and training curriculum, examination of re-employment opportunities for workers in coal-related industries, identification of broadband opportunities, and development and promotion of industry sector strategies.  Coconino County will leverage an additional $100,000 in U.S. Department of Labor WIOA funds.
  • $150,000 ARC grant to Reconnecting McDowell, Inc. in Charleston, WV to develop an economic development and diversification strategy for the City of Welch and McDowell County centered on the Renaissance Village Apartments, a housing project that will develop rental housing in downtown Welch for teachers and young professionals employed in the area. Renaissance Village will serve as an anchor for redevelopment efforts in the downtown area and provide affordable housing.  The planning project will assist with an entrepreneurship and small business initiative, along with financial and operations modeling for Renaissance Village.
  • $140,000 ARC grant to the West Virginia Connecting Communities Inc. in Charleston, WV in partnership with the New River Gorge Trail Association for the development of an economic feasibility study for a regionally-connected bike trail system in Fayette and Nicholas Counties. The focus of the study will be the viability of linking over 500 miles of bike trails and the impact to small communities throughout the region.
  • $123,488 ARC grant to the Region 4 Planning and Development Council in Summersville, WV to develop a strategic plan for the Upper Kanawha Valley. In partnership with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, the plan will include prioritizing economic strategies, building regional collaboration across counties, and assisting communities to create greater economic diversification that fosters sustainability.
  • $119,460 ARC grant to Rural Action in The Plains, OH to develop a strategic plan and feasibility study for the Appalachian Ohio Solar Supply-Chain Initiative. This regional planning effort will focus on building a stakeholder partnership that will develop a regional solar manufacturing supply-chain in response to a major utility’s plan to deploy new solar resources in Ohio.
  • $105,000 ARC grant to Williamson Health and Wellness Center in Williamson, WV to provide grant writing assistance, and develop a feasibility study, a strategic plan, and preliminary architectural design work for a vacant building in Williamson’s downtown, a former “pill mill.” If deemed viable, the building will be rebuilt as a one-stop facility that would provide workforce training, opioid addiction and substance abuse treatment services to assist individuals in recovery to become employment ready. The service area will include counties in both Kentucky and West Virginia.
  • $93,495 ARC grant to the West Virginia Community Development Hub in Fairmont, WV, which, in partnership with the International Economic Development Council, will provide technical assistance to five coal-impacted counties (Boone, Greenbrier, Lincoln, McDowell and Wyoming) through economic development mentoring for local community teams. As a result of this investment, community teams will develop local economic diversification strategies.
  • $90,000 ARC grant to Randolph County Development Authority in Elkins, WV to develop a strategic plan focused on the promotion and expansion of the hardwood industry cluster. In partnership with the Hardwood Alliance Zone, the strategic plan will assist in strengthening the economy of the nine-county region.  The project will build on the recent EDA and ARC POWER grants that are enabling a local wood products manufacturer to expand its operations.
  • $80,142 EDA grant to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, in support of a Plan to Sustain Small Businesses in the Coal Economy.  Working with the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center will spearhead the development of a plan to propose strategic responses that enable small businesses to successfully adapt to the rapid transitions occurring in the power sector and in coal reliant communities and supply chains. The plan will examine how technology commercialization and entrepreneurial opportunities for displaced workers can reinvigorate and diversify regional economies; it will also analyze opportunities to create linkages with accelerator programs and rapid prototyping centers, and to bolster industry sectors in manufacturing, electronics, energy innovation and cyber security.
  • $69,831 EDA grant to Ohio University in Athens, OH, to conduct a Skillshed analysis that will identify and analyze the current skill sets of former coal industry employees, the skills requirements across various emerging and existing high-growth industries, and the gaps between these current skill sets and existing industry demand within a 32-county area and in partnership with four EDA Economic Development Districts.  The findings of the final report will be used to inform the workforce development and economic resiliency strategies and projects of economic development organizations across the region.
  • $60,000 ARC grant to Webster County Economic Development Authority in Webster Springs, WV to conduct a feasibility study for the development of a multi-county All-Terrain Vehicle trail system in five counties. This grant will assist in developing a major tourism asset for the region and create opportunities for local small businesses.  The project will work in partnership with the Hatfield McCoy Trail Authority.
  • $50,000 EDA grant to the Huron County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in Bad Axe, MI, in partnership with the City of Harbor Beach, MI, in response the closure of the DTE Energy-owned coal power plant, which resulted in the loss of jobs and an important source of revenue for the local tax base. The project will support a feasibility study focusing on the viability of creating a local multipurpose space that could serve as an entrepreneurship and business start-up hub. The hub would share resources with local, regional and state organizations and entrepreneurs, while also serving the local needs of the business community. DTE is providing a $50,000 cash match to support this project.
  • $50,000 EDA grant to the County of St. Clair in Port Huron, MI, which, in partnership with the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, will conduct a comprehensive economic impact study of the planned retirement in 2023 of the DTE Energy-owned St. Clair Power Plant. The study will identify economic activity related to the plant and the impacts of its future retirement, provide scenario-based strategies for mitigating negative impacts of the plant’s closure, and recommend strategies for economic diversification and reinvestment. DTE is providing a $50,000 cash match to support this project.
  • $50,000 EDA grant to the Southeastern Montana Development Corporation in Colstrip, MT. Colstrip Power Plant Units 1 and 2 will be retired by 2022. Between this anticipated closure and the resulting layoffs at the nearby Rosebud Mine, the total cumulative job losses are projected to have a significant impact on the regional workforce. This EDA investment will support the development of an economic development strategy that the City of Colstrip will use as its guide to diversifying and stabilizing the economy of Colstrip and the surrounding area that has historically depended on both coal mining and coal-fired power generation.
  • $14,214 ARC grant to the United Mine Workers Association Career Centers, Inc. in Prosperity, PA to provide grant writing assistance to raise funds for the development of a training program at their Greene County, PA training facility. The program will emphasize high demand occupations such as commercial driver’s license, and heavy equipment and diesel mechanics.
  • $11,108 ARC grant to Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network in Abingdon, VA to provide grant writing assistance to raise funds for the creation of a regional craft beverage cluster that will strengthen Virginia’s agriculture industry and tourism in the region. The project will build off the extensive network cultivated by the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation.

POWER Special Research Award Summaries:

  • $497,000 ARC grant to the Region 1 – Planning and Development Council in Princeton, WV for the Coalfields Cluster Mapping Initiativeresearch project. ARC funds will be used to map the extent of the coal industry supply chain across the tri-state region of Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. The resulting detailed information on the supply chain will complement ongoing work undertaken by other ARC-funded projects, examining the extent of the decline in the coal economy and providing business technical assistance to aid the impacted supply chain firms in their return to growth and profitability.
  • $349,999 ARC grant to West Virginia University Research Corporation in Morgantown, WV for the Economic Analysis of Coal Industry Ecosystem in Appalachia project. This study will examine the full ecosystem of the coal industry in Appalachia through in-depth quantitative analysis. Specifically, this research will identify, quantify, and map data on all relevant coal industry activity throughout the Appalachian Region. The three tasks of this research project are to: 1) identify all components of the coal ecosystem and estimate the supply chain impacts in Appalachia; 2) examine the implications of the coal industry downturn on freight rail, barge, and truck transportation in Appalachia; and 3) develop a typology of regional economies that surround the coal-fired plants in the Region using both econometric and input-output techniques.
  • $149,998 ARC grant to Downstream Strategies in Morgantown, WV for the Strengthening Economic Resilience in Appalachian Communities project. This research will explore and document strategies and policies local leaders can use to enhance the future economic prospects of coal-impacted communities throughout the Appalachian Region. There are four key components to this research project: 1) develop a comprehensive, quantitative framework to explore economic resilience; 2) identify a series of best-practice strategies for strengthening local economic resilience; 3) conduct up to 10 in-depth case studies; and 4) produce a concise guidebook that interprets and integrates findings of the research, written specifically for local economic development practitioners.

Dueling Candidates: Hillary Clinton Sees Energy Policy as Climate Action, Donald Trump Touts ‘America First Energy Plan’

Dueling candidates: Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have diametrically opposed energy plans © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Dueling candidates: Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have diametrically opposed energy plans © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The contrast between the candidates’ ideas for energy could not be starker. Hillary Clinton recognizes that energy policy is critical climate action (saving the planet and human habitability), seeing the potential for economic revolution and jobs creation through making the US the world leader in the emerging clean, renewable energy industry. Donald Trump, who never mentions climate change except to say it is a “hoax” perpetrated by China, frames his “America First Energy Plan” as unleashing production of fossil fuels – properly presenting it as “USA, USA and the rest of the planet be damned.” Keep in mind, the US is 5% of the world’s population but is responsible for 25% of the planet’s carbon emissions that are already rendering island nations virtually uninhabitable. China may be close, but it also has four times the population and, in face of choking, debilitating air pollution, is already implementing its agreement to reduce emissions. Here are their campaigns’ own statements about their plans. – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features.

Clinton Has A Plan To Combat Climate Change

Hillary Clinton, first woman to head the Democratic ticket for President, takes a victory lap at a rally in Westbury, Long Island following a triumphant first debate, at Hofstra © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Hillary Clinton, first woman to head the Democratic ticket for President, takes a victory lap at a rally in Westbury, Long Island following a triumphant first debate, at Hofstra © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Hillary Clinton believes climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time. That’s why she’s released a bold plan to make the United States the clean energy superpower of the 21st Century, create millions of good-paying jobs across the country, save families money on their energy bills, and ensure that no community is left out or left behind in the clean energy economy, from coal country to Indian country to our inner cities.

Her strategy calls for three goals to achieve within ten years of taking office:

  • Generate half of our electricity from clean sources, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of her first term.
  • Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
  • Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships and trucks.

Clinton has long fought for clean energy and measures to curb climate change:

  • As Secretary of State, she built an unprecedented global effort to combat climate change, making it a key U.S. foreign policy priority, and with President Obama achievedthe key diplomatic breakthrough that yielded the first international climate agreement in which major developing countries like China, India, and Brazil committed to reduce their GHG pollution.
  • She has praised the Paris climate agreement, calling it a “testament to America’s ability to lead the world in building a clean energy future where no one is left out or left behind.”
  • TIME op-ed: America Must Lead at Paris Climate Talks — “As Secretary of State, I put combating climate change on the agenda for my first trip to Beijing and kept it there over the next four years. I appointed the first high-level special envoy for climate change and led an international effort to launch the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce so-called “super pollutants” that make up just a fraction of emissions, but drive a disproportionate share of warming. As President, I will protect and build on the progress President Obama has made at home.”
  • As Senator, she twiceintroduced the Strategic Energy Fund Act to prioritize investment in smarter energy and extend tax credits for ethanol, wind, and other renewable energy sources. The Strategic Energy Fund Act would have eliminated key tax breaks for oil and gas companies. She also introduced a measure that was signed into law requiring the Pentagon to address the risks of climate change in its strategic planning.
  • She worked with Senate colleagues of all stripes to confront these challenges, teaming upwith Bernie Sanders to create job training opportunities in the clean energy industry, and working with Jim Inhofe to expand alternative energy use in federal buildings.
  • She worked with Senator Chuck Schumer on legislation calling for the study and potential creation of a national heritage area surrounding Niagara Falls. Following the release of the study, the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area was established in 2008. She workedwith Carl Levin to safeguard wildlife and promote sound water management in the Great Lakes region, and she consistently fought against opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

While Clinton believes the U.S. must act to tackle climate change, Donald Trump is burying his head in the sand by claiming it’s a hoax.

DONALD J. TRUMP’S AMERICA FIRST ENERGY PLAN

Donald Trump addresses New York State Conservative Party in New York City © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Donald Trump addresses New York State Conservative Party in New York City © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Donald J. Trump’s Vision On Energy

Mr. Trump’s America First Energy Plan will make America energy independent, create millions of new jobs, and protect clean air and clean water. We will conserve our natural habitats, reserves and resources. And we will unleash an energy revolution that will bring vast new wealth to our country.

We must make American energy dominance a strategic economic and foreign policy goal of the United States. President Obama’s anti-energy orders have weakened our security, by keeping us reliant on foreign sources of energy. Every dollar of energy we don’t explore here, is a dollar of energy that makes someone else rich over there. Imagine a world in which our foes, and the oil cartels, can no longer use energy as a weapon.

America will become, and stay, totally independent of any need to import energy from the OPEC cartel or any nations hostile to our interests. And at the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy.

Mr. Trump’s plan is an “all of the above” energy plan that encourages the use of natural gas and other American energy resources. It reduces emissions, the price of energy, and increases our economic output. In addition, we will decrease residential and transportation energy costs, leaving more money for American families as they pay less each month on power bills and gasoline for cars. Electricity will be more affordable for U.S. manufacturers, which will help our companies create jobs, and heaper energy will boost American agriculture.

An America First Energy plan will make the choice of sharing in our great American energy wealth, over sharing in the poverty promised by Hillary Clinton. We will engage in energy exploration which will create a resurgence in American manufacturing, dramatically reducing both our trade deficit and our budget deficit. The Trump plan will end the war on the American worker, putting our coal miners and steel workers back to work.

This new direction will end all job-destroying Obama executive actions as well as reduce and eliminate all barriers to responsible energy production. We must support coal production, safe hydraulic fracturing, and allow energy production on federal lands in appropriate areas. It is also time to open up vast areas of our offshore energy resources for safe production.

The Trump plan will use the revenues from energy production to reduce our debt, rebuild our inner cities, roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. It will ensure a reliable, streamlined regulatory and permitting process for energy infrastructure projects to be completed on time and on budget. We commit to solving real environmental problems in our communities like the need for clean and safe drinking water. Most importantly, American workers will be the ones building this new infrastructure.

Mr. Trump’s 100-Day Action Plan

Mr. Trump will rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.

Mr. Trump will ask TransCanada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.

Mr. Trump will lift moratoriums on energy production in federal areas

Mr. Trump will revoke policies that impose unwarranted restrictions on new drilling technologies. These technologies will create millions of jobs with a smaller footprint than ever before.

Mr. Trump will cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.

Any regulation that is outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers, or contrary to the national interest will be scrapped. Mr. Trump will also eliminate duplication, provide regulatory certainty, and trust local officials and local residents.

Any future regulation will go through a simple test: Is this regulation good for the American worker? If it doesn’t pass this test, the rule will not be approved.

 

White House: 191 Countries Reach a Global Climate Deal for International Aviation

Vienna international airport (wind turbines in the background). 191 countries have agreed to adopt a global market-based measure to reduce carbon emissions from international aviation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Vienna international airport (wind turbines in the background). 191 countries have agreed to adopt a global market-based measure to reduce carbon emissions from international aviation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The White House issued this Fact Sheet:

Today, in Montreal, Canada, 191 countries decided to adopt a global market-based measure to reduce carbon emissions from international aviation at the 39th Assembly meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).  Today’s action builds on last year’s historic Paris Agreement and demonstrates continued American leadership and global momentum behind ambitious action to address climate change.     

This global agreement addresses a growing source of global emissions that was not covered by last year’s Paris Agreement. Countries agreed in Paris that the targets and policies they submitted under the Paris Agreement would not include emissions reductions from international flights. While international aviation today represents only 2 percent of global carbon emissions, the sector is forecasted to grow at around 5 percent each year beyond 2020, translating into approximately 3.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions for the period from 2020 to 2035.  Without coordinated action, this growth in emissions threatens the international community’s ability to meet the Paris Agreement’s ambitious temperature goals and combat global climate change.

 

This new measure changes that. The world’s nations have now agreed to an ambitious yet pragmatic approach to using market principles to constrain emissions from the international aviation sector. This measure results in a net peak at 2020 levels for covered international aviation emissions. Specifically, the peak will be achieved by setting a price on carbon emissions from the aviation sector, allowing airlines to either reduce their emissions or offset them through crediting, and allowing countries to begin participating in the effort in a staged approach. Over the life of the measure, up to 80 percent of international aviation emissions above the 2020 level would be offset with the possibility for increased coverage with additional participation.  By 2027, nearly all countries with major international airlines will be included in this measure and will offset their emissions above 2020 levels.

 

The innovative, market-oriented nature and industry support of today’s global agreement reflect a pragmatic and economically efficient approach to reducing emissions from this sector. In fact, Airlines for America, the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, last week expressed support for this global measure because it avoids a fragmented regulatory approach and offers stability and certainty to its airlines and the entire global industry.

 

Today’s outcome also delivers on the request in bipartisan legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2012 for the Administration to conduct international negotiations to pursue a worldwide approach to address aircraft emissions.

 

Key Elements of the Global Market-Based Measure 

·       Reducing or Offsetting international aviation emissions:  Starting in 2021, airlines covered by the measure will purchase emissions offset credits to account for their growth in emissions above 2020 levels.

·       Participation:  The measure is designed to encourage the broadest participation possible, while providing flexibility by giving countries the option to participate from the beginning in 2021, or waiting until 2024 or 2027 for countries that have limited capacity or that need technical assistance to participate.  Already, a diverse range of over 65 countries representing over 85 percent of global air traffic have decided to participate starting in 2021 – reinforcing the wide agreement that combatting climate change requires universal action from all countries.

·       Review:  The measure will be thoroughly reviewed every three years to consider improvements based on experience implementing the measure.

·       Incentive for action:  By putting a price on carbon emissions from aviation, this market-based measure will provide an incentive to further technology improvements, air traffic efficiency improvements, and the development and use of sustainable alternative fuels.

 

The decision to adopt a global market-based measure provides for the world’s airlines to purchase carbon offset credits for any international growth in carbon emissions above 2020 levels.  This builds on efforts being undertaken by ICAO and in the United States to reduce emissions from aviation, including the development of new technologies, such as experimental aircraft intended to dramatically reduce fuel use, emissions, and noise [hyperlink to NASA], more efficient air traffic operations, and the development of sustainable alternative fuels.  The measure complements the adoption earlier this year of international COstandards for aircraft developed at ICAO, which set a technology standard for new and in production aircraft. 

Clinton Global Initiative Ends 12-Year Run with Global Impact Affecting 435 Million People

 

President Bill Clinton, at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative, acknowledges the partners who have made commitments on behalf of Haiti © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton, at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative, acknowledges the partners who have made commitments to rebuild Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake  © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

I am so sick of Donald Trump and his sleezy band of “surrogates” attacking the Clinton Foundation as if it were run in the same way and for the same purpose as the corrupt and self-serving Trump Foundation, rather than being the catalyst for sustainable development that has meaningfully lifted millions out of poverty, provided life-saving medications and vaccines, expanded health care and educational opportunities, fostered the cultural changes to lift up women and girls and reduce gender violence and inequality. And that’s just for starters.

At an emotional Closing Plenary Session of the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative – the annual meeting that brings together philanthropists, corporations, government leaders and non-governmental organizations to partner together on sustainable projects that actually help solve the intractable problems of the world, from poverty to gender inequality to conflict resolution -, President Clinton delivered a personal reflection on what the last 15 years of the Clinton Foundation have meant to him and discussed how CGI helped redefine philanthropy.

“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said.

During the three days of the gathering, CGI “members” (who are obligated to make and implement commitments) discussed and announced 96 new Commitments to Action to continue driving progress on pressing global issues, including preventing the spread of Zika, addressing the refugee crisis in Syria, reducing violence against women in the developing world, peacebuilding in post-conflict areas, and strengthening business supply chains so that companies can do well by doing good.

What started with 600 commitments in 100 countries in CGI’s first two years has since grown to more than 3,600 commitments spanning more than 180 countries, which have improved the lives of over 435 million people. The impact of CGI will continue through the work of CGI members who are implementing their Commitments to Action.  When fully funded and implemented, commitments announced by CGI members over the past 11 years will ensure that:

  • More than 52 million childrenhave access to a better education.
  • More than 33 million peoplehave increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
  • More than 13 million girls and womenhave been supported through empowerment initiatives.
  • More than $1.6 billionhas been invested or loaned to small- and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Nearly 35 million peoplehave access to information technologies.
  • More than 50 million farmers or small-scale producers have gained access toinputs, supports, and markets
  • More than 8 million people have gained skills to cope with the risks of environmental stress and natural disasters.
  • More than 401 million acres of foresthave been protected or restored.
  • Nearly 4 million clean jobs have been created.
  • More than 114 million peoplehave increased access to maternal and child health and survival programs.
  • More than $318 million in research and development funds has been spent on new vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics.

“I started CGI in 2005 because I believed people wanted to come together and work together to solve big problems and seize key opportunities.,” said President Clinton. “It has changed the landscape of modern philanthropy. Putting ideas into action is no longer the exception but the rule. I look forward to seeing new Commitments to Action announced which will continue to improve lives long into the future.”

“Every year, CGI’s Annual Meeting has been a place where we see unlikely partnerships form – in the hallways, at a discussion table, or right on stage,” said Chelsea Clinton. “I’m excited to see what partnerships emerge this year to tackle challenges in education, global health and development broadly – and to look back and continue to learn from the impact of CGI partnerships through the years on pivotal issues like Ebola relief, disaster response, increased opportunities for girls and women, climate change, and sustainable economic development.”

CGI built a forum for government, business, and civil society to come together and turn ideas into action through the Commitment to Action model — the defining feature of CGI. Since the first Annual Meeting in 2005, CGI has brought together nearly 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of business, philanthropic, non-profit leaders, and influential civic voices. Timed to continue the dialogue on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the CGI Annual Meeting has guided members to expand and replicate proven solutions to pressing challenges.

At the meeting, several CGI members expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the work of CGI within their remarks, including:

Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International, said, “I have been a proud member of CGI since 2005. I have witnessed its unique, practical, and measurable contributions in the world, the opportunities it created for marginalized voices to be heard, and how it helped push social issues otherwise ignored to the limelight. This may be the last Annual Meeting, but the work and the spirit of President Clinton’s mission and the CGI committed community will live on forever.”

The theme of CGI is “Turning Ideas Into Action,” and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever noted, “the Clinton Global Initiative has done much more than that. It has been an enormous convening power to bring people together who otherwise would not have come together.”

“The question you need to ask them is it’s not just about how to innovate, but how to innovate and develop a business model which produces global access to that idea. Because innovation that nobody gets access to is not innovation,” said Andrew Witty, Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline

Madeleine K. Albright, chair , Albright Stonebridge Group chairs panel with Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE Campaign; John R. Allen, Brookings Institution, Frederica Mogherini, European Union; Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Madeleine K. Albright, chair , Albright Stonebridge Group chairs panel with Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE Campaign; John R. Allen, Brookings Institution, Frederica Mogherini, European Union; Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The truth is you cannot find a more dedicated group of problem solvers, visionaries and altruists anywhere in the world than at CGI,” Madeleine Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group, said. “The Clinton Foundation had done more to help alleviate poverty and disease, and further global development than any platform I know.”

(See: Clinton Global Initiative Has Been Catalyst to Solving World’s Most Intractable Problems)

21 years after a heinous massacre in Sbrebrenica, Bosnia, Bill Clinton brings together Aleksander Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia Camil Durakovic, Mayor of Sbrebrenica, to discuss how to reach reconciliation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
21 years after a heinous massacre in Sbrebrenica, Bosnia, Bill Clinton brings together Aleksander Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia Camil Durakovic, Mayor of Sbrebrenica, to discuss how to reach reconciliation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The final CGI was a kind of valedictory, reflecting back on what has been achieved, and in some ways, ending up the way it started, with a strong focus on Women and Girls (because when women succeed, society succeeds), and conflict resolution, with extremely stirring presentations that featured Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister, Serbia, together with Camil Durakovic, Mayor, Municipality of Srebrenica who have managed to come together 21 years after the massacre at Srebrenica, and Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President, Colombia, honored as with a Global Citizen Award for

Advija Ibrahimovic, Survivor of the Srebrenica Genocide © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Advija Ibrahimovic, Survivor of the Srebrenica Genocide © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

making peace after 50 years of civil war; Advija Ibrahimovic a survivor of Srebrenica, who presented a Global Citizen Award to Nadia Mura for the courage to tell her story of being kidnapped and exploited by ISIS who after her escape has become a voice for the thousands of women and children who have been trafficked in situations of conflict.

Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS terror, has dedicated herself to rescue the thousands of women and girls who have been trafficked in situations of conflict. Honored with a Clinton Global Citizen Award, she also has been named a UN Goodwill Ambassador. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS terror, has dedicated herself to rescue the thousands of women and girls who have been trafficked in situations of conflict. Honored with a Clinton Global Citizen Award, she also has been named a UN Goodwill Ambassador. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

(See: Five are Honored with Global Citizen Awards at Final Clinton Global Initiative)

 

What can the Trump Foundation show? It does not have a legal certificate to solicit the millions of dollars, does not spend Donald’s own money but takes credit for others’ contributions, uses contributions to bolster his business and his personal reputation. He went on TV to solicit funds for veterans groups (as an excuse to not show up at a Republican debate) but only actually gave up the money after being exposed by the press (illegal to do that). He used his contribution to sway the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi from investigating the Trump University fraud. Donald Trump has launched a new personal attack saying “follow the money”. Well here it is:

Among the new commitment announcements from the 12th and final Annual Meeting were those addressing critical issues such as the refugee crisis and the containment of infectious diseases like Zika, and a score of commitments aimed at addressing violence against women and gender inequality.

Here are details of just some of the commitments, in the hopes they will provide models for others to follow after there is no more Clinton Global Initiative to catalyze such partnerships, to inspire and to monitor and bring them to fruition:

  • U.ME.WE Campaign 
    Commitment by: Ubuntu Education Fund
    Partner(s): Colin Cowie Events; De Agostini SpA; Eastern Cape Province Department of Health; Knowledge is Power Program; McKinsey & Company

    PROGRESS REPORT: In 2012, Ubuntu Education Fund committed to launch the U.ME.WE. Campaign, a three year, $25 million initiative to provide long-term financial stability and develop the Ubuntu Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa into a world class health and education campus, transforming the lives of 2,000 children and their families from cradle to career.  Led by an experienced and dedicated medical team, the organization’s health program offered comprehensive HIV/TB services from testing to adherence support, sexual and reproductive health interventions, primary care, and nutritional support. Ubuntu has provided well over 24,200 medical services to 2,000 of Port Elizabeth, South Africa’s most vulnerable children, as well as piloted an early childhood development program that has grown from 38 to 148 children, created a university preparation program for Grade 12 scholars, and enhanced household security through Ubuntu’s Family Support Specialists.  Through this Clinton Global Initiative commitment, the organization has ensured that the birthplaces of 2,000 orphaned and vulnerable children living in Port Elizabeth’s townships do not have to determine their futures.

  • Amplifying the Voices of Poor Women to Create Inclusive Cities 
    Commitment by: Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC)
    Partner(s): Arghyam; Cities Alliance; Shack/Slum Dwellers International; Tata Trusts; United Cities and Local Governments Africa

    NEW: In 2016, the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC) and their partners committed to amplify the voices of slum dwellers in Odisha and Maharashtra, India. Over the next three years, SPARC, in collaboration with partners and local governments, will train local informal residents and collect previously absent and unattainable citywide slum data, while developing projects to address the priority issue areas articulated by residents in seven towns with the greatest demonstrated WASH and vulnerable housing needs in India. The participation and leadership of slum dwellers is key to demonstrating inclusive and equitable city development planning, which should incorporate the participation of and reflect the needs of resident slum dwellers, from start to finish. Ultimately, this Commitment to Action will impact more than 1,300,000 slum dwellers in more than 1,000 slum communities throughout India.

  • Increasing Adoption of Clean Energy Technology in Mozambique
    Commitment by: Edp – Energias De Portugal, S.A.
    Partner(s): OIKOS – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento; Leigos para o Desenvolvimento; SAN-JFS

    NEW: In 2016, EDP – Energias de Portugal, S.A. committed to launch a program that will promote community adoption and integration of electricity in the village of Titimane in Mozambique. Titimane will gain access to electricity for the first time through the development of a renewable-energy powered mini-grid. While this new access to clean energy will promote sustainable economic development, EDP is well aware of the challenges off-grid villages face in transitioning away from previous energy sources and adopting new clean energy technologies. Working with two local NGO implementation partners, EDP will develop an integrated behavior-based economic development approach that will enable all 4,000 members of the community to leverage this new access to electricity by providing comprehensive outreach, training and community programming over 2.5 years in four focus areas: entrepreneurship, education, health, and community empowerment.

  • Haiti Commitment Cluster
    PROGRESS REPORT: Approximately 30 organizations who have made commitments through the Haiti Action Network will announce progress and celebrate the over 100 commitments that have been made to benefit Haiti, including commitments made by Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project International, Heineken, Marriot International, Inc., The Timberland Company, and West Elm. New commitments will also be announced to improve Haiti’s education, expand economic opportunity, and increase sustainability.
  • Tackling Childcare: Good for Business and Development
    Commitment by: IFC
    Partner(s): Aeromexico; Afrifresh; Axiata Group; Bauducco; Care.com, Inc.; Danone; Dialog Axiata Plc; EY; Grupo M; HBL Bank; HCL Technologies Limited; Institute for Women’s Policy Research; International Labour Organization; Kidogo; MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.; Pepsico; Safaricom Limited; Sumimoto Chemical

    Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

    NEW: In 2016, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), brought together a group of private sector companies operating in a variety of different business sectors in emerging as well as developed markets to identify and implement childcare solutions that are good for business, employees, and communities. Private sector partners commit to at least three gender smart measures from a menu of options that focus on substantiating the business case for employer-supported childcare and putting this business case into practice. Strategic partners will provide knowledge, best practices, lessons learned, and data to help the private sector commitment members realize their commitments. The Tackling Childcare Secretariat housed in IFC will provide technical expertise, host learning events, provide communications opportunities, and compile the group’s learning on how employer-supported childcare can work in different regions, industries, and business environments in a global best practice “Tackling Childcare” report on employer-supported childcare. Ultimately, the commitment aims to directly impact the lives of working parents in participating organization, improve learning and awareness about the business case and best practices for employer-supported childcare, and encourage others to start or scale up their own employer-supported childcare efforts.

    Chelsea Clinton announces a commitment to help save elephants by curbing demand for ivory © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Chelsea Clinton announces a commitment to help save elephants by curbing demand for ivory © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
  • The New Luxury: Catalyzing Influencers to Curb Global Ivory
    Commitment by: Save the Elephants
    Partner(s): Tiffany & Co.; Marc Jacobs International; DNA Model Management; Edelman; Doutzen Kroes

    NEW: In 2016, Save the Elephants, in partnership with Elephants Action Network Members, the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, and leading industry influencers including Tiffany & Co., Marc Jacobs International, DNA Model Management, Edelman, and Doutzen Kroes committed to the creation of a multi-stakeholder campaign leveraging their global taste-making status to curb the demand for elephant ivory in key buying markets. Fashion influencers, those brands and individuals who create and steward the goods and preferences that are so central to consumers’ identities, will communicate out their commitments to ivory-free products and lifestyles via a range of media platforms. Influencers will simultaneously drive $1 million in donations to the Elephant Crisis Fund, which supports anti-poaching efforts facing immediate need, via the unified #knotonmyplanet campaign. This messaging overtly links the consumption of ivory with the killing of elephants, and along with tailored influencer-created assets, will target populations in the United States and high-ivory demand East Asian countries at strategic intervals.

  • Igniting Ideas for Greece’s Future: The Angelopoulos 100 (CGI Annual Meeting 2016)
    Commitment by: Gianna Angelopoulos

    NEW: In 2016, Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos committed to scaling up her efforts to develop young Greek social entrepreneurs by recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting 100 Angelopoulos Fellows in implementing and sustaining projects that address Greece’s major challenges. Due to the financial crisis that has plagued Greece for almost a decade, career opportunities are limited and well educated young Greeks are quickly leaving the country. This commitment will connect young Greeks with relevant experts, mentorship opportunities, access to capital, and connections to international contacts and conferences to support them in their entrepreneurial endeavors. Creating an extensive, ongoing community network for the 100 Fellows will assist them in developing successful social enterprises that will positively impact communities across Greece.

  • Disabilities: Social & Financial Inclusion for Women & Girls
    Commitment by: Keystone Human Services
    Partner(s): Czech Development Agency; East European Foundation; Moldova, Republic of; National Agency for Employment; Soros Foundation; Step by Step Management, Inc.; Swedish Organization for Individual Relief; United States Agency for International Development; Winrock International

    PROGRESS REPORT: In 2013, Keystone Human Services committed to improve social and financial inclusion for women and girls with disabilities in the United States and Eastern Europe, specifically in Pennsylvania, Moldova, and Russia. Through this commitment, Keystone aims to deinstitutionalize young women with disabilities, moving them from state institutions to community homes, and provide them with the necessary, community-based support structures. A complementary program aims to establish an inclusive, family-oriented, workforce model that effectively reduces obstacles to employment for women with disabilities and women caregivers of children with disabilities. Initially, Keystone intended to impact that lives of 60 women and girls, but the program has seen incredible successful and far exceed expectations. In Moldova, The Equal Access to Education program, an inclusive education project, has been piloted in 22 schools, and is being promoted and replicated at the national level. This has benefited many girls who now have access to education, health services, orthopedic and optical items, rehabilitation centers, physical therapy, counseling, and psychological support.

  • Life Saving Healthcare for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
    Commitment by: Unipol Gruppo Finanziario SpA
    Partner(s): United Nations Refugee Agency

    NEW: In 2016, Unipol committed to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 300 refugees over two years in Lebanon, which is host to the highest number of Syrian refugees in proportion to its population size. Unipol will contribute a cash donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which will provide treatment for emergency and lifesaving secondary and tertiary healthcare, such as normal and caesarian deliveries, as well as hospitalization costs and surgeries for emergency care. Rather than establishing new services, UNHCR will offset costs to ensure that Syrian refugees can access quality public healthcare. Complementing this donation, Unipol will raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees in host countries by implementing a communication campaign in Italy. With approximately 15,000 employees and over 16 million customers, Unipol will give UNHCR the possibility to reach a widespread audience. In addition, clients subscribing to Unipol life insurances will be given the option to indicate UNHCR among their beneficiaries, providing a key fundraising opportunity for UNHCR.

  • Building Peace: Higher Education for Syrian Youth
    Commitment by: Syria Relief and Development
    Partner(s): University of Idlib

    NEW: In 2016, Syria Relief and Development (SRD) committed to supporting the University of Idlib in northwestern Syria over a period of two years to ensure continued access to higher education and prevent brain drain as a significant percentage of the population flees the country due to the ongoing civil war. Recognizing the vital – yet underfunded – role of tertiary education during times of crisis, SRD will provide free tuition to over 1,300 enrolled students (focusing on at-risk populations) and provide the departments of pharmacy, mechanical engineering, education, and agriculture with financial support, consulting services, educational technology, and assistance with curriculum development. Additionally, SRD will introduce a job training and internship program for more than 300 students, as well as reproductive health, family planning, and skills building courses for 500 women. As a result, SRD will ensure that the education of the next generation of Syrian doctors, civil engineers, and teachers will not be placed on hold.

  • Business and Employability Skills in Jordan
    Commitment by: City & Guilds Group; Near East Foundation

    NEW: In 2016, Near East Foundation (NEF) and Building Markets committed to providing business development and employability skills training to over 6,000 refugees and Jordanians over two years, addressing the economic vulnerabilities that refugees and Jordanians alike face. NEF and Building Markets will focus on women and youth, thus contributing to their financial self-reliance, and will prioritize areas in Jordan with a high number of refugees and concentrated poverty. NEF will deliver training in livelihood support hubs, or “Siraj Centers”, where local Master Trainers will help women and youth refugees to build skills to either find employment or to start their own micro-enterprises and generate stable income. In addition, Building Markets and NEF will provide advanced support to at least 300 participants who demonstrate high business growth potential to scale their ventures, increasing income and creating job opportunities for Jordanians and refugees.

  • FARMS: Bridging the Humanitarian-Development
    Commitment by: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
    Partner(s): Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation; Jordan River Foundation; Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Jordan

    NEW: In 2016, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) committed to establish the Facility for Refugees, Migrants, Forced Displacement, and Rural Stability (FARMS) to raise $100 million in new funds for agricultural development targeted towards rural communities, refugees, and displaced individuals. FARMS will support agriculture-related training, financial access and adaptation technologies to increase the self-reliance of refugees and strengthen the resilience of host communities. The commitment will focus on countries with large proportions of refugee and displaced communities and the initial focus will include Jordan, Iraq, and Sudan, with planned expansion to the broader Middle East and North Africa region. In the long term, FARMS will support projects that focus on restoring agricultural productivity in origin areas from where refugees have fled so that people who have left are motivated to return to their native countries, and those who remain have a chance to rebuild their lives.

  • Transitioning Girls & Women from Cash to the Workforce
    Commitment by: Women’s Refugee Commission
    Partner(s): Danish Refugee Council; Mercy Corps; Norwegian Refugee Council

    NEW: In 2016, Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) committed to safely transition refugee women and girls in Jordan and Turkey from cash assistance to the workforce in order to provide economic self-reliance and support women and girls as they re-connect or enter into the formal workforce for the first time. This will help to address a common sentiment among refugee women of powerlessness, hopelessness, high stress, and various protection risks, all of which are tied to a lack of financial resources. Over the course of two years, WRC will conduct research that builds on its current studies that demonstrate how cash-based initiatives can prevent gender based violence, and will build the capacity of partners in the private sector and non-governmental organization service providers to prepare displaced women and girls of working age to safely obtain formal employment. WRC will also build global awareness on issues such as the right to work and decent work legislation for refugee women and girls.

  • Reinventing Refugee Employment and Integration in Italy
    Commitment by: Kairos Rainbow Srl
    Partner(s): Centro Astalli; Istituto Massimiliano Massimo; Italian Institute for Asia and the Mediterranean (ISIAMED); Jesuit Foundation for Education; Ristrutturazioni Italiana Srl; SCM Srl; Tras. Co. Italia

    NEW: In 2016, Kairos Rainbow committed to address the gap that exists in Italy between skilled refugees and a lack of job opportunities by providing 180 refugees, including from Somalia, Pakistan, and Syria, with language courses, legal counseling, and job placements to facilitate their social and economic integration in the country. To do so, over a period of two years, Kairos will partner with Italian companies who will create tailored training programs and offer internships which will ultimately make it easier for refugees to obtain full time employment, as well as partner with local organizations that will provide social services, such as assistance to renew residency and work permits. Through this commitment, Kairos aims to change the perception of refugees in Italy from scapegoats to integrated and empowered participants in the country’s economy and society. The commitment will pilot in Rome and, based on its success, will expand to other cities in Italy.

    Turning Landfills into Goldmines: Can We Make the Circular Economy a Reality? Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres moderates panel with Stacey Davidson, Redisa; Ron Gonen, Closed Loop Partners; and Paul Polman, CEO Unilever © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Turning Landfills into Goldmines: Can We Make the Circular Economy a Reality? Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres moderates panel with Stacey Davidson, Redisa; Ron Gonen, Closed Loop Partners; and Paul Polman, CEO Unilever © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
  • Turning Waste into Energy at Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan
    Commitment by: Solar CITIES
    Partner(s): Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; Blueprint for Survival, Tamera ecoVillage; Foam Tech Insulation Services; HomeBiogas Israel; Schools for Sustainability; Solar CITIES – Palestine/Jordan Chapter; UNICEF

    NEW: In 2016, Solar CITIES committed to installing two biogas hubs and educating 50 new biogas technicians and closed-loop farmers in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp over the next three years. The biogas hubs will turn food and animal wastes into clean and safe fuel and fertilizer, while eliminating pathogens that cause illness and attract disease-carrying animals. The hubs will provide access to energy and opportunities for residents to learn, share and implement clean and renewable energy solutions within Zaatari, with future plans to expand to Greece, Lebanon and Turkey. The biogas technicians will become micro-waste management experts and closed-loop farmers will gain income by building farm- and community-scale biodigesters, selling the fertilizer and biogas, and working with Solar CITIES to schedule a series of workshops with local community members to scale biodigester construction. Increased access to renewable energy will reduce fossil fuel usage and indoor air pollution while controlling rodent and insect populations by better managing food waste at its source, ultimately impacting more than 11,000 residents and saving more than 100,000 KwH of energy.

  • SOS: Focus on Syrian Medical Students & Doctors
    Commitment by: Global Platform for Syrian Students
    Partner(s): American University of Beirut; University Dohok, Iraq; University Nova, Lisbon; The Hashemite University, Jordan; World Health Organization

    NEW: In 2016, The Global Platform for Syrian Students, established by former President of Portugal Jorge Sampaio, committed to providing scholarships to 200 medical students who are displaced by the Syrian Civil War and to support specialist training programs for 200 Syrian doctors still working within the country in order to allow Syrians to continue their medical residency or post-graduate specialist training. This approach will help to address the challenges that Syrian medical students face both within and outside of the country, whose education and training have been interrupted by the conflict, and will invest in critical capacity building for the Syrian medical profession. The commitment will take place over three academic years and will begin with a pilot in 2016 with scholarships for 75 Syrian students in partner universities in Portugal, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, which will be scaled to additional students over the next three years. The specialist training in Syria will commence in early 2017, and the goal is that at least 30% of the students and doctors will be women.

    Katja Iversen, President and CEO, Women Deliver, moderates panel with Kazuo Hirai, CEO Sony Corporation, and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Katja Iversen, President and CEO, Women Deliver, moderates panel with Kazuo Hirai, CEO Sony Corporation, and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com 
  • Zika Prevention & Care
    Commitment by: Direct Relief International
    Partner(s): 3M Foundation; Ansell Limited; Asociacoin de Salud Primeria de Puerto Rico (ASPPR); Batey Relief Alliance; Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC); Fundacion Ruth Paz; FUSAL; Greenlid Envirosciences; Hopital Albert Schweitzer; International Planned Parenthood Federation; Jamaica; Medtronic, Inc.; Ministerio de la Primera Infancia, Argentina; Ministry of Health of Jamaica; National Association of Community Health Centers; Proyecto Aldea Global; Texas Association of Community Health Centers

    NEW: In 2016, Direct Relief, in partnership with International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), Batey Relief Alliance, and others, committed to launch a multi-national response to the current Zika outbreak across Latin America, the United States, and the Caribbean. The multi-faceted response will focus on reproductive health and family planning, prenatal care, and the prevention of transmission through the distribution of essential commodities empowering communities to take preventative actions and make informed decisions about their health. This response will take the form of Zika Modules designed to protect against the transmission and the potentially devastating consequences of the virus. Direct Relief will distribute up to Zika Modules to partners involved in comprehensive, community-based Zika response efforts in Argentina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, the United States (specifically Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas), and Venezuela. Modules will include: insect repellent, biodegradable mosquito traps, digital thermometers, ultrasounds, fetal dopplers, and contraceptives.

         Women Deliver Young Leaders Initiative

Commitment by: Women Deliver

Partner(s): European Parliamentary Forum; Global Fund for Women; Johnson & Johnson

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2012, Women Deliver committed to expand the youth component of its programming by scaling up its engagement with a diverse cohort of young people early in their careers. As a result of this commitment, young leaders will receive the following skills: basic and intermediate advocacy skills; information and communications technology skills; technical skills related to maternal health and sexual and reproductive health and rights; and networking and social media skills.  In addition to a first round of e-learning opportunities offered in 2012, Young Leaders participated in a second e-course focused on deepening their ability to design and implement projects in their communities.  The Young Leaders who successfully completed the e-course were eligible to submit a grant proposal to receive seed funding to implement a project in their community. Ten grants were awarded to Young Leaders in Mexico, Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Sixteen Young Leaders, including all 10 seed grantees, attended The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Partners’ Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa as speakers, participants, facilitators, and bloggers, where they were able to share best practices, key learnings, and outcomes from their projects.  The work of the Young Leaders continues to receive media attention, particularly at the national level. All of this has led to the creation of the Young Leaders Program, which, apart from increasing the number of Young Leaders to 200, includes a robust recruitment process, advocacy training and opportunities, a Speakers’ Bureau, alumni network, mentorship network, and more.

         Global STEM Alliance (GSA) – 1000 Girls – 1000 Futures

Commitment by: New York Academy Of Sciences

Partner(s): AMIDEAST; AOL Charitable Foundation; ARM Holdings; British Council; Million Women Mentors; Motorola Solutions Foundation; Municipality of Barcelona; U.S. – Mexico Foundation; World Learning

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2014, the New York Academy of Sciences (the Academy) committed to launch a three-year, $2 million mentorship program to increase girls and women’s participation in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math).  The Academy developed a mentorship program that paired 1,000 high-school aged girls with mentors who study or work in STEM fields. The girls received year-long one-on-one mentor support, online training in foundational skills development, and the opportunity to attend an annual Program Summit.  All items in the Action Plan to date for the 2015 cohort were accomplished. More than 300 girls from 12 countries were nominated for the program’s first cohort, and in an overwhelming show of support, more than 500 applications were received from professional women seeking to be mentors.  As this first cohort of young women are now completing the online curriculum, Academy staff are actively preparing for the first Summit, scheduled to take place July 26-28, 2016, in New York City. Planning is also underway to offer the program to the second cohort of young women beginning in September 2016.

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Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, has confronted child marriage through a Youtube video, which she performed at the Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, has confronted child marriage through a Youtube video, which she performed at the Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Addressing Harmful Practices: FGC and Child Marriage

Commitment by: United Postcode Lotteries

Partner(s): Amref Health Africa; Girls Not Brides; Tostan

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2013, The United Postcode Lotteries (UPL) committed, together with its partners AMREF, Tostan and Girls Not Brides, to work towards bringing an end to harmful practices affecting girls and young women, specifically child marriage and female genital cutting (FGC), with a specific focus on East and West Africa.  This commitment brings together a donor focused on girls’ and women’s rights, a global partnership of almost 300 organizations based in 50 countries focused on child marriage, and two NGOs with a deep and proven commitment to working directly with communities in Africa to address these practices. A summary of key results so far (status bi-annual report year 3 implementation) include: 7,755 girls from Samburu, Magadi, Loitoktok, and Kilindi participated in one of the Alternative Rites of Passage; more than 100,000 girls, parents, and cultural elders were educated about the effects of FGC; 354 peer educators from the communities were trained in sexual and reproductive health, sexual and gender based violence, human rights, effects of FGC, Alternative Rites of Passage, and mobilization approaches; 850 Traditional Birth Attendants, who are often also circumcisers, were trained on the possible health effects of FGC. Many of them are now ARP ambassadors. The Alternative Rites of Passage is very mediagenic, especially in Kenya, USA, Canada, and the Netherlands, the project received attention in newspapers, magazines, online, television, and radio. Some of the projects key champion community leaders have been featured on national television. Nice Leng’ete, a campaigner/project officer, received international recognition from DFID as one of the most influential young campaigner, and Kenya’s first lady Margaret Kenyatta attended one of the Alternative Rites of Passage and has become a great supporter of Amref’s approach to tackle FGC. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Women Through Travel

Commitment by: Airbnb, Inc.

Partner(s): Global Fund for Women; Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Airbnb committed to accommodate the travel needs of Global Fund for Women and Vital Voices for convenings. The travel credits will be disseminated to more than 100 female entrepreneurs, small business owners, and human rights activists. Upon completion of the reports, Airbnb will explore a second phase of partnership with Vital Voices and Global Fund for Women. Airbnb will also focus on the economic impact of home sharing on female hosts and contribute to their broader strategy of economic empowerment. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Confronting

Commitment by: American Jewish World Service

Partner(s): The Kendeda Fund

NEW: In 2016, the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) committed to support 50 grassroots, capacity-building and research organizations to address child, early and forced marriage in India. Through strategic grant making and organizational meetings, AJWS will work on the local and national level in India and social movements to enable girls to have access to services in their communities. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Justice Institute on GBV

Commitment by: Avon Products, Inc.

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Avon committed to support the creation of 10 new Justice Institutes in 2017 and 2018 in countries that represent top global markets, as well as in countries where previous Institutes are ready to expand. With a commitment of $1 million, Avon will support the training of 500 women throughout the expansion of 10 country Institutes over the course of two years from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Banking the Unbanked

Commitment by: CARE

NEW: In 2016, CARE committed to providing 500,000 women access to formal financial services in Africa and Asia by 2020. Presently, 1.1 billion women lack access to financial services, while many have access only to the informal financial sector. Given this deficit, CARE will widen women’s access to formal financial services through strengthening its Village Savings Loan Association network, identifying mature VSLA communities, leveraging its relationships with banks and mobile network operators, and developing culturally responsive digital products, where possible. Commencing in East Africa—where CARE has a large existing network—the commitment will expand to Western and Southern Africa and Asia from 2016 – 2020. Looking ahead, this commitment will contribute to CARE’s broader global strategy to provide 30 million women access to formal financial services by 2020. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Entrepreneurs & Tech

Commitment by: Cherie Blair Foundation For Women

NEW: In 2016, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women committed to giving 10,000 women entrepreneurs access to digital channels, mentoring, and the valuable information they need to grow their businesses. The Foundation has committed to developing an application through its Technology Program that will deliver information via SMS to women entrepreneurs that will have a networking component. The commitment will identify one country to implement the project and will work with local partners, including a local NGO as well as a mobile network operator to deliver this commitment. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: FITE Entrepreneur Accelerator

Commitment by: Dermalogica

Partner(s): City & Guilds Group; Operation Hope, Inc.; U.S. Small Business Administration

NEW: In 2016, Dermalogica committed to a two phase program to provide vocational training to women. Dermalogica has committed to creating industry specific business skills by building off of their FITE Entrepreneur Accelerator Program with free online classes to support vocational training education. The first phase will be the development of the online platform, which will then phase into marketing and distribution, as well as new courses added in 2017-2018. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Mining Communities

Commitment by: Freeport-McMoRan Inc.

Partner(s): Don Bosco Institute; Thunderbird School Of Global Management; WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Freeport-McMoRan committed to invest $5 million to promote women’s economic empowerment and address violence against women in four countries by 2021. Starting in 2017, Freeport-McMoRan will scale up its online platform DreamBuilder entrepreneurship training program for women to develop skills to strengthen their businesses. Broadly, Freeport-McMoRan will work to develop programs that will support women through resources, training, consulting services and mentoring. They will also offer at least $1 million in new capital to facilitate the growth of at least 60 women-owned businesses. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: A Multi-Sector Approach

Commitment by: Global Fund for Women

Partner(s): Clinton Foundation; Vital Voices Global Partnership; WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Global Fund for Women committed to investing $3 million over a two year period in partnerships that will raise the visibility of women-led organizations removing barriers to gender equality globally. Global Fund for Women will make grants averaging $40,000 to grantee partners through their annual open call for proposals. This commitment will further contribute to the mission of Global Fund for Women to change the systems in which women and girls live and work; and build movements that catalyze transformation for individuals and societies. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Buying from Women

Commitment by: WEConnect International

Partner(s): EY; Freeport-McMoRan Inc.; IBM; Ingersoll Rand Company Ltd.; Pfizer Inc; Procter & Gamble; Walmart

NEW: In 2016, WEConnect International committed to expanding upon a previous CGI commitment to track and measure global contract opportunities for women owned business based outside of the U.S. WEConnect will focus on making it easier for corporations to find and do business with more women as suppliers and to measure their progress from 2016 to 2021. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: McLarty Global Fellowship

Commitment by: McLarty Associates

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, The McLarty Global Fellowship committed to working with Vital Voices to contribute research to advance the research and advocacy for women and girls conducted by Vital Voices. The McLarty Global Fellowship will support two graduate students from the Clinton School at the University of Arkansas to spend a semester in Washington, DC advancing the work of Vital Voices. One Fellow will be assigned to the economic empowerment team at Vital Voices and the second Fellow will work directly with the Human Rights team. This commitment is part of the Girls, Women & the Global Goals coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Skills Training for Women

Commitment by: Nest

Partner(s): If Hummingbird Foundation Inc.; West Elm

NEW: In 2016, Nest committed to reaching 100,000 artisans by expanding its Nest Professional Program by growing brand partnerships over the next three years. Craft production enables women to work while caring for dependents and provides employment where gender discrimination is prevalent. Nest’s commitment will match artisan producers with high caliber industry experts by leveraging brand partnership to ensure the work is not only efficient and effective, but also sustainable. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Business Development

Commitment by: Procter & Gamble

Partner(s): WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Proctor and Gamble committed to implementing Women’s Business Development Programs in order to train 100 women business owners by 2017. P&G will initially target the following countries: China, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, and the United States. Ultimately, this commitment will contribute to P&G’s goal of enabling women business owners to build their business and have a greater economic impact in the communities in which they operate. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: End Workplace Violence

Commitment by: Sodexo Group

NEW: In 2016, Sodexo committed to improve the quality of life of women in the communities it serves by focusing on gender equality and empowerment through operations in Latin America and India. By August 2019, Sodexo will: 1) Promote awareness of gender-based violence; 2) Provide in-depth training about gender-based violence prevention; 3) Provide economic opportunity for survivors of violence; and 4) Lead collaboration in the countries where they work to make a larger impact in the community. This commitment is part of the Girls, Women & the Global Goals coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

Chelsea Clinton, Vice chair, Clinton Foundation, with Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, and Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up, addressing efforts to combat cultural practices of child marriage and female genital mutilation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Chelsea Clinton, Vice chair, Clinton Foundation, with Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, and Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up, addressing efforts to combat cultural practices of child marriage and female genital mutilation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Every Hour Matters Campaign

Commitment by: Together For Girls

Partner(s): Becton, Dickinson and Company; CARE; Child Helpline International; Cummins&Partners; Pan-American Health Organization; SafeTrek; Save the Children; United Nations Women; Women Deliver; World Health Organization

NEW: In 2016, Through its Every Hour Matters campaign, Together for Girls committed to assisting girls and women who have experienced rape or sexual assault. Sexual violence is a pervasive problem that leaves a proportion of survivors with only 72 hours to receive life-saving post exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV and 120 hours to receive emergency contraception. Together for Girls will increase awareness of the importance of rapid access to post-rape care by increasing the public’s awareness and building partnerships with leaders to improve survivors’ access to comprehensive services. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners: Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, high-fives Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, high-fives Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Ending Gender-Based Violence

Commitment by: United Nations Women

NEW: In 2016, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women committed to funding $1 million in grants targeting projects and supporting civil society organizations that empower refugee women and girls in an effort to address the issue of sexual and gender based violence experienced by refugee women and girls. Prioritizing countries that have been impacted by the ongoing refugee crisis. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Changemakers with Pond’s

Commitment by: Unilever

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Unilever launched a fellowship program that will invest in 100 emerging global women leaders over the next four years through its brand Pond’s. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Dignified Jobs for India’s Poorest

Commitment by: Upaya Social Ventures

Partner(s): anant Learning and Development Pvt. Ltd; Krishi Star; Maitri; Open Road Alliance; Saahas; Tamul Plates

NEW: In 2016, Upaya committed to investing in more women led enterprises over the next three years to increase the total number of women in its portfolio by 50%. Upaya will invest in agribusiness, skill development, and labor intensive manufacturing businesses. These businesses will participate in a financial management program. Over three years, Upaya will work with 50 companies and invest in 10 of them. This new approach will allow Upaya to create new partnerships with industry experts and investors to empower women entrepreneurs. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Tech for Women’s Rights

Commitment by: WAKE: Women’s Alliance for Knowledge Exchange

NEW: In 2016, WAKE committed to investing in three to five NGOs from its Tech2Empower (T2E) initiative, a tech and communications training workshop for leaders of women’s rights organizations. WAKE’s commitment will focus on three expansions of T2E: expanding to two new regions (Central America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa); launching T2E Fellowships; and establishing Learning Hubs. In its expansion WAKE will hold T2E workshops to train NGO leaders in the two regions, which will provide a foundation for T2E Fellowships and Learning Hubs. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Delivering for Good

Commitment by: Women Deliver

Partner(s): Together For Girls

NEW: In 2016, Women Deliver committed to launching a four year global campaign, Deliver for Good, which promotes investments (political, programmatic, and financial) in girls and women, specifically focusing on violence against girls and women. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Women in Conflict Areas

Commitment by: Women For Women International

Partner(s): Kingdom of the Netherlands

NEW: In 2016, Women for Women International (WfWI) commits to supporting economic empowerment activities for socially and economically marginalized women over the age of 18 who are in the greatest need, through its comprehensive women’s empowerment program. Through this program, WfWI will focus on developing a curriculum reaching 25 women that would build empowerment skills and engaging men in activities that will address issues of violence against girls and women. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Advancing Women in the Workforce

Commitment by: Women’s Funding Network

NEW: In 2016, Women’s Funding Network committed to build their Advancing Women in the Workforce program with up to 10 women’s foundations in the US. This one-year commitment will secure $30,000 in funding from its members to launch a women’s economic security digital storytelling platform that will drive engagement with women’s foundations and provide a valuable fundraising tool and 70,000 to work in target communities. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sector. 

President Bill Clinton announces partners in a Clinton Global Initiative commitment © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton announces partners in a Clinton Global Initiative commitment © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Pathway to Social Entrepreneurship for Young Leaders

Commitment by: The Resolution Project

Partner(s): African Leadership Academy; Axiom Investment Advisors; Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation; DuPont Company; Echoing Green; General Electric; Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc.; Group 113; Harvard University; Hatzimemos Libby; Jim Mannino Public Relations; National Society of High School Scholars; Semester at Sea; The Geraldine y Gabriel Sunshine Foundation; The World Model UN Conference

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2014, The Resolution Project (‘Resolution’) committed to expand its Resolution Fellowship to support 400 college students from across the globe who seek to address an array of global challenges through social entrepreneurship. Resolution also launched new initiatives – the Resolution Institute, Pathway and Corporate Program Partnerships, the Fellow Resources System, and The Resolution SOLVE Summit – to provide a comprehensive ecosystem of resources for young social entrepreneurs.  More than 60% of Resolution Fellows report they would have been unlikely to launch their social venture without the support of Resolution, proving that they play a catalytic role in their Fellows’ development as socially responsible leaders.  Resolution Fellows report improvements in their adaptability, leadership, and organizational skills and note that Resolution has helped them respond to challenges and obstacles. Resolution Fellows have gone on to secure more than $2.5 million in additional funding through revenue, grants, awards, etc. More than 90% of Resolution Fellows report high satisfaction rates with the mentorship they receive from volunteer Guides.

         From Divisive Crisis to Inclusive Cities: Catalyzing Transformative Partnerships in Greater Monrovia

Commitment by: Cities Alliance

Partner(s): Comic Relief; Habitat For Humanity International; Ministry of Internal Affairs, Department of Urban Affairs, Government of Libera; Monrovia City Corporation (MCC); Paynesville City Corporation (PCC); Shack/Slum Dwellers International; StreetNet International; UN-Habitat; United Cities and Local Governments Africa; UNOPS; Women In Informal Employment: Globalizing And Organizing; YMCA Liberia

NEW: In 2016, Cities Alliance committed to improving the lives of 400,000 slum dwellers in Greater Monrovia, Liberia by empowering local residents to create lasting change in their communities through partnership with government, the private sector and civil society. Cities Alliance, in partnership with local and national government, UCLG, UN-Habitat, UNOPS, Habitat for Humanity International, Comic Relief, YMCA, WIEGO, StreetNet International, and SDI will mobilize communities and equip them to undertake comprehensive urban development solutions, enabling basic service improvements, affordable housing schemes, enhanced small business opportunities and resilience upgrades in existing slums and poor neighborhoods, including in hazard prone coastal and wetland areas. Empowering local communities and building capacity among civic leaders via neighborhood associations, Cities Alliances wishes to bridge the existing gap between slum dwellers and both local and national levels of government, improving strategic urban planning frameworks and enhancing national enabling environments, in order to develop and bring about meaningful change in the lives of the urban poor.

         MHNOW: Closing the Mental Health Treatment Gap

Commitment by: Global Development Incubator

Partner(s): Arogya World; Basic Needs; Children’s Health Fund; Clear Village; Falkora; Global Futures Group; Grand Challenges Canada; Hans Foundation; Harvard School Of Public Health; International Institute for Mental Health Leadership; International Medical Corps; Johnson & Johnson; Keystone Human Services; King’s College London; Many Minds Collaborative; Peter C. Alderman Foundation; Step Up on Second; StrongMinds, Inc.

NEW: In 2016, the Global Development Incubator, BasicNeeds, Johnson & Johnson, Grand Challenges Canada and 20 others committed to launch mhNOW (Mental Health Now), a Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (MSI) to catalyze, connect, and support cities committed to driving change in the field of mental health. mhNOW’s ambition is to activate leadership and empower cities to catalyze cross-sector collective actions to close the mental health gap in 30 cities by 2030. The mhNOW MSI will mobilize and channel resources and networks to city projects through a challenge prize and through technical assistance to 1) scale local innovations; 2) mobilize youth leadership; and 3) improve the evidence base for the return on investment in mental health and establish a monitoring and evaluation framework to aggregate city and global data indicators. During its first year, partners will engage communities as various as Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Vietnam, Singapore, and the United States and in cities that span from Nairobi and Chennai to Philadelphia and Flint.

President Bill Clinton at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

CGI CEO Bob Harrison published a piece in the Huffington Post on the many ways CGI and its members have transformed modern philanthropy. In it, he notes:

  • CGI members have frequently come together to find unconventional partners—across sectors—for collective impact:“A 2014 analysis of CGI commitments reveals that the most successful Commitments to Action involve partnerships. Since 2005, members of the CGI community have worked together to leverage each organization’s strengths and expertise to achieve their shared goals for social impact.”
  • CGI members have helped define innovative investing for social good: “CGI members have created and scaled innovative investment models—pioneering methods that have become the new standard.”
  • CGI members have put girls and women at the center of every issue: “The unique challenges facing girls and women worldwide are at the forefront of CGI programming and are integrated across all our focus areas. Whether a commitment targets technology, health care, the environment, or education—members are encouraged to integrate the perspective of girls and women into both the design and implementation of their commitments. To date, CGI members have supported 11 million girls and women through empowerment initiatives.”
  • CGI members have responded quickly to disasters and have helped make our communities more resilient: “When disaster strikes, the CGI community is positioned to act fast—it comes together to assess needs and assist with critical resources.”
  • CGI members have advanced the approach of “doing well by doing good:” For the past 11 years, President Clinton has been a leading advocate for engaging the private sector to create positive change. This philosophy of “doing well by doing good” has been enthusiastically embraced by CGI members from the business community, whose commitments have transcended conventional Corporate Social Responsibility and have helped push modern philanthropy forward.”

Devex provided a preview of the program and will be exploring CGI’s legacy and the role it has played in developed in its coverage throughout the event.

In a New York Times piece that discussed recent developments in the ivory trade, CGI’s three-year long campaign to save the elephant population was highlighted. Progress on this commitment will be announced in the coming days.

CGI commitment-maker Ubuntu’s Jake Lief wrote in Quartz on how leadership lessons for charities often come from stories about failure.

CGI CEO Bob Harrison discussed the 2016 CGI Annual Meeting and how CGI has changed philanthropy on Bloomberg Radio.

Last week on CNN, Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala discussed the Annual Meeting and CGI’s impact across the world.

AFT President Randi Weingarten highlighted CGI’s unique model of bringing unlikely partners together in an op-ed for the Huffington Post.

CGI staff also reflected on the magnitude of the Clinton Global Initiative and its legacy, watch the video here: https://youtu.be/YhhDzra5SuM 

To watch major plenary and breakout sessions, go to http://live.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

For a timeline of the Clinton Global Initiative over the years, visit https://www.clintonfoundation.org/sites/default/files/cgi_timeline.pdf.

For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org; follow on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

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© 2016 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

 

 

Obama Takes Historic Step To Address National Security Implications of Climate Change

Climate disasters like Superstorm Sandy pose a national security threat because they potentially could make 200 million people around the world climate refugees and put further stress on food and water supplies © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Climate disasters like Superstorm Sandy pose a national security threat because they potentially could make 200 million people around the world climate refugees and put further stress on food and water supplies © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water. The present day effects of climate change are being felt from the Arctic to the Midwest. Increased sea levels and storm surges threaten coastal regions, infrastructure, and property. In turn, the global economy suffers, compounding the growing costs of preparing and restoring infrastructure.”  U.S. National Security Strategy, February 15, 2015

The White House issued a Fact Sheet on President Obama’s historic step to address national security implications of climate change:

On Sept. 21, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum (PM) on Climate Change and National Security, establishing a policy that the impacts of climate change must be considered in the development of national security-related doctrine, policies, and plans.  To achieve this, 20 Federal agencies and offices with climate science, intelligence analysis, and national security policy development missions and responsibilities will collaborate to ensure the best information on climate impacts is available to strengthen our national security. The Presidential Memorandum was released alongside a report from the National Intelligence Council identifying pathways through which climate change will likely pose significant national security challenges for the United States over the next two decades, including threatening the stability of other countries.

There is current and growing attention paid by national security experts to ways in which climate impacts are adversely affecting national security now, and will stress national security even more dramatically in the coming decades.  In addition to tackling the impacts from climate change by reducing emissions, there is a need for increased collaboration among the climate science, intelligence, and national security policy communities to prepare for the impacts that we can no longer avoid.

This announcement builds on steps the Obama Administration has already taken to address emerging national security challenges impacted by climate change. For example, because climate change in the Arctic will necessitate greater presence in the region’s open seas, the Administration proposed in 2015 to accelerate the acquisition of a replacement heavy icebreaker for the Arctic and began planning for the construction of additional icebreakers. This year, the Administration requested $150 million from Congress to accelerate production of a new Polar Icebreaker, and the Administration continues to call on Congress to provide this critical funding to the U.S. Coast Guard this year.

PRESIDENT OBAMA DIRECTS FEDERAL AGENCIES TO TAKE ACTION TO ADDRESS THE NATIONAL SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Today’s Presidential Memorandum adds an essential element to the President’s comprehensive approach to addressing climate change at all levels, providing the policy guidance and direction needed to ensure that climate risks are fully characterized and considered in our national security planning, through:

  • Establishing a dedicated Federal Climate and National Security Working Group, led by representatives from the National Security Council staff and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and including over 20 Federal agencies and offices with climate science, intelligence, and national security responsibilities. The Working Group will identify the U.S. national security priorities related to climate change and national security, and develop methods to share climate science and intelligence information to inform national security policies and plans.
  • The Climate and National Security Working Group will create a Climate Change and National Security Action Plan within 90 days to identify specific steps that are required to perform the Working Group’s functions, which includes facilitating the exchange of climate data and information with the intelligence community and identifying gaps; recommending research guidelines concerning the Federal Government’s ability to detect climate intervention activities; identifying the most current information on regional, country, and geographic areas most vulnerable to current and projected impacts of climate variability for the next 30 years; and developing recommendations for the Secretary of State to help ensure that the work of U.S. embassies, including their planning processes, are better informed by relevant climate change-related analyses.
  • Directing individual agencies to develop Implementation Plansaddressing climate-related hazards and threats to national security; identifying economic considerations arising from the impacts of climate change globally and the resulting specific impacts on national security, human mobility (including migration and displacement), global water and food security, nutrition, public health, and infrastructure; identifying climate change-related risks to agency missions; and identifying risks that may be caused by agency policies, programs, and actions concerning international development objectives, fragility, and regional stability.

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE COUNCIL RELEASES REPORT ON IMPLICATIONS FOR US NATIONAL SECURITY OF ANTICIPATED CLIMATE CHANGE

The National Intelligence Council released a report finding that the effects of climate change are  “likely to pose significant national security challenges for the United States over the next two decades,” including by stressing our military operations and bases. Globally, the report found that climate-related national security disruptions are underway now and climate change and its resulting effects are likely to pose wide-ranging national security challenges for the United States and other countries over the next 20 years through a number of pathways including:

  • Overwhelming a state’s capacity to respond or recover, its authority can be so undermined as to lead to large-scale political instability. In the most dramatic cases, state authority may collapse partially or entirely;
  • Decreasing water and disputes over access to arable land will increase the risk of conflict between people who share river basins, aquifers, or land areas;
  • Contributing to migrations that exacerbate social and political tensions, some of which could overwhelm host governments and population; and
  • Straining the capacity of US and allied armed forces to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

“These effects will be especially pronounced as populations continue to concentrate in climate-vulnerable locations such as coastal areas, water-stressed regions, and ever-growing cities.

“While President Obama continues to pursue all practical actions to reduce harmful greenhouse gases and other carbon sources, it is important to evaluate and pursue the actions needed to identify the current and projected climate impacts on our national security, and develop actions to mitigate these impacts,” the White House stated in the fact sheet.

White House Announces 2016 GreenGov Presidential Awards, New Steps to Advance Federal Sustainability

The Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex, received a 2016 GreenGov Presidential Award for reducing water use at its museums and the National Zoo by 54.5% since 2007, exceeding the Federal 26% reduction goal for FY 2020.  The Smithsonian accomplished this achievement by using sub meters and leak detectors to discover water waste, and by focusing on water efficient landscapes for iconic public buildings on the National Mall and at the National Zoo © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex, received a 2016 GreenGov Presidential Award for reducing water use at its museums and the National Zoo by 54.5% since 2007, exceeding the Federal 26% reduction goal for FY 2020. The Smithsonian accomplished this achievement by using sub meters and leak detectors to discover water waste, and by focusing on water efficient landscapes for iconic public buildings on the National Mall and at the National Zoo © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Since taking office, President Obama has taken unprecedented steps to address climate change and protect our planet for future generations. Building on the President’s historic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a clean energy economy, the Administration has sought to lead by example, investing in Federal sustainability to improve environmental, energy and economic performance across the Federal government,” the White House stated in a fact sheet announcing the 2016 GreenGov Presidential Awards, along with new initiatives to advance federal sustainability.

“With 343,000 buildings, 630,000 fleet vehicles, and $438 billion in annual purchasing power, the government has taken significant steps to operate more efficiently across the board.”

Here is the fact sheet:

Today, in recognition of the progress our Federal agencies have made, the White House announced the winners of the 2016 GreenGov Presidential Awards, honoring those who have gone above and beyond to implement innovative sustainability projects within the government. Senior Administration officials will recognize the 12 individuals and team winners today in a ceremony at the White House.

The Administration also announced today new steps to advance sustainability in federal purchasing with the release of the General Services Administration’s new “Green ✓” tool to help agencies make informed decisions about products and services that save money, increase sustainability and meet green purchasing requirements. Additionally, this week, Federal agencies will release their annual Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans, outlining how they are working to meet sustainability goals such as achieving a 40% reduction in Federal greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

Winners of 2016 GreenGov Presidential Awards 

The GreenGov Presidential Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in the pursuit of President Obama’s Federal sustainability goals. They recognize Federal civilian and military personnel, agency teams, agency projects, facilities, and programs. These awardees have contributed to the Nation’s prosperity, promoted energy security, protected the interests of taxpayers, and combated climate change to safeguard the health of our environment.

  • Climate Champion Award: Dr. Richard Bennett, Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Following the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Dr. Richard Bennett led the Department of the Interior team charged with helping the region recover, overseeing 167 million dollars in project funding to revitalize the Northeast, and to protect it from future storms and sea level rise. Dr. Bennett worked to launch more than 100 sustainability-focused projects, and led a team that developed performance metrics for climate resilience that are changing the way the Federal government prepares for severe weather events.

  • Sustainability Heroes Award: Dr. Rosalind A. Grymes, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

For nearly a decade, Dr. Rosalind Grymes has been working to enhance NASA’s sustainability portfolio with a focus on optimizing the use of water, energy and other resources.  She has held numerous leadership roles in the pursuit of a more sustainable NASA, including as the Executive Director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, and as the Founding Director of the Advanced Studies Laboratories.

  • Green Innovation Award: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers & Department of Defense

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Defense have created a software tool that is revolutionizing sustainability planning for their agencies. The tool helps evaluate the sustainability and energy needs of an installation, and then generates a list of energy projects perfectly suited to meet the organization’s goal. The software tool has been successfully leveraged by other agencies across the country to transform federal sustainability planning and implementation.

  • Lean, Clean, and Green Award: Department of Veterans Affairs

Under the leadership of Timothy Morris, the Calverton National Cemetery has implemented energy saving measures and revolutionized its sustainability efforts, including the incorporation of the first ever installation of solar power at a national cemetery. From the use of automatic lighting sensors to programmable thermostats and timers, the Calverton National Cemetery has made sustainability a core part of its daily mission, becoming an energy efficiency model for cemeteries across the country.

  • Green Dream Team Award: Environmental Protection Agency / General Services Administration

An employee-led team at EPA established the first compost collection program at EPA’s Washington, DC headquarters. The team coordinated with custodial staff, repurposed existing collection bins, and developed low cost communication tools to educate 4,500 employees about the program. GSA partnered with EPA in this effort, and is now working to expand compost services to over 50 Federal buildings in the National Capital region.

  • Good Neighbor Award: Environmental Protection Agency

In the years following the foreclosure crisis, the number of vacant homes across the country grew by 44% from 2000 to 2010. To guard against the significant environmental impact from demolishing these homes, EPA created a toolkit that’s changing the way communities deal with demolitions across the country. The toolkit helps municipalities make sound environmental decisions during the demolition process, reducing pollution, among other benefits.

  • Building the Future Award: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers & Department of Defense

The Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Defense have constructed the first LEED Platinum certified, net-zero energy aviation hangar at Fort Carson, Colorado.  This innovative building includes high efficiency lighting and solar panels that supply half its power needs, and is a major step in support of Fort Carson’s goal to become a Net Zero Energy facility by 2020.

  • Greening the Fleet Award: Timothy Currie, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

As NASA’s Fleet and Transportation Manager, Timothy Currie has helped transform NASA’s fleet of over 3,000 vehicles nationwide. In just two years, NASA has replaced almost two-thirds of its fleet with vehicles that run on cleaner fuels, including biofuels, compressed natural gas, and electricity. This transition contributed to NASA achieving a 62% reduction in petroleum use since 2005.

  • Purchasing Power Award: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico has developed a software tool that seamlessly integrates management and oversight of green purchasing. The tool provides a list of green products available for order, captures data on purchases, and tracks compliance with sustainability requirements. With real-time data, NASA’s Sustainability Program team members can now track performance on green purchasing goals from their desktops.

  • Keeping It Clean Award: Department of Energy

Faced with the need to treat groundwater at a former nuclear weapons production facility, the Department of Energy’s Office of Legacy Management developed an innovative groundwater treatment system.  Installed at Rocky Flats, Colorado, the system runs on battery power and recharges with solar power.  This design enhances safety, improves groundwater treatment reliability, reduces long-term maintenance and costs, and reduces waste.

  • Resilience Role Model Award: Environmental Protection Agency / Department of Homeland Security-FEMA

Soon after Hurricane Sandy, a group of Federal, State, and local government leaders formed the Long Island Smart Growth Resiliency Partnership, focused on implementing recovery efforts that would be environmentally sustainable, and make the region more resilient to climate-related threats in the future. The partnership has held numerous events to educate and train the public, and is currently developing a joint EPA-FEMA guidance document for use by other impacted communities throughout the nation.

  • The Ripple Effect Award: Department of Health and Human Services

In response to employee interest in electric vehicle (EV) charging, the Department of Health and Human Services launched an initiative to support EV commuting, and to install charging infrastructure across its agencies. The National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration have developed innovative plans to make commuting by EV easier, including dedicated parking spaces and use of the conference room scheduling system to reserve charging stations.

To find out more about the GreenGov program visit:https://www.whitehouse.gov/greengov.

Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans 

This week, the Administration is also releasing the Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans.  In these strategic plans, Federal agencies detail how they are working to meet the President’s goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase use of renewable energy, reduce energy and water used in Federal buildings, improve efficiency of Federal fleet vehicles, and enhance climate resilience.

Below are some examples of how Federal Agencies are leading by example:

  • Saving Energy and Saving Money for Veteran Care: When compared to hospitals nationwide, Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals are a top energy performer. VA hospitals are approximately 35% more efficient than the average U.S. hospital, allowing more resources to be directed to the care of Veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs has reduced energy intensity by 23.2% compared to a 2003 baseline.
  • Reducing Water Use at the World’s Largest Museum and Research Complex: The Smithsonian Institution has reduced water use at its museums and the National Zoo by 54.5% since 2007, exceeding the Federal 26% reduction goal for FY 2020.  The Smithsonian accomplished this achievement by using sub meters and leak detectors to discover water waste, and by focusing on water efficient landscapes for iconic public buildings on the National Mall and at the National Zoo.
  • Navy Achieves 1 GW in Renewable Energy: In the 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama announced that the Department of the Navy would seek to produce or procure 1 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy by 2020.  The Navy not only met that goal, but they did it by the end of 2015, five years ahead of schedule.  One recent project represents the largest renewable energy procurement in Federal government history – a solar project that will bring 210MW of renewable power to 14 Navy bases in California.  Over the life of the 25-year contract, the Navy will save more than $90 million, while enhancing energy security and resiliency.

Obama Administration’s Record on Federal Sustainability 

Since taking office, President Obama has taken unprecedented steps to lead by example in the Federal government, investing in innovative and cost effective initiatives to reduce carbon pollution. In March 2015, President Obama set aggressive targets for the government to cut Federal greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by the year 2025, from a 2008 baseline. To date, the Federal government has met the challenge by achieving the following: 

Emissions Reductions:

  • The Federal Government has reduced its annual greenhouse gas emissions 17.6 percent since 2008, and avoided the emission of over 41 million metric tons of GHGs, equivalent to taking 8.7 million cars off the road for one year.
  • Federal agencies have cut energy use at Federal facilities by 15.4 percent since 2008. In 2015 alone, the government consumed almost 38 trillion British Thermal Units less than 2008, saving $680 million in energy costs.
  • The amount of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from Federal government business air travel in 2015 was 35 percent less compared to 2008. That is comparable to 4.8 million flights across the U.S.

Water Consumption:

  • Over the past 8 years, the Federal government has saved almost 140 billion gallons of drinkable water, comparable to the amount of water used by almost 1 million households over the course of a year.

Clean Energy Use:

  • The Federal government has nearly doubled the amount of clean energy used in facilities since 2008, totaling over 6% of facility energy use.

Vehicle and Equipment Energy Use:

  • The Federal government reduced spending on  gasoline/diesel by more than $963 million in 2015 compared to 2008.
  • The government has tripled its consumption of alternative fuels since 2005, to 15.1 million gallons, surpassing the Administration’s fleet alternative fuel consumption goal by 50 percent. These fuels are produced in the U.S., decreasing our dependence on foreign oil and enhancing our energy security.
  • The number of electric vehicles in the Federal fleet have increased over 50-fold, from 83 vehicles in 2008, to 4,337 in 2015. The number of hybrid electric vehicles in the Federal fleet increased 1,194% between 2008 and 2015, from 1,766 to 22,863 vehicles.

Obama Administration Announces New Policies to Promote Conservation and Build Resilience to Climate Change, with a focus on Pacific Islands

President Obama quadrupled the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, creating the world’s largest marine protected area. When he declared National Oceans Month in June, he stated, “Oceans and their nearby regions are also highly vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate -- a once-distant threat that is now very present and is affecting ecosystems and shoreline communities on every coast. Rising sea levels, coastal storms, and a growing risk of erosion and flooding are looming realities faced by seaside towns.”(photo by James Watt).
President Obama quadrupled the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, creating the world’s largest marine protected area. When he declared National Oceans Month in June, he stated, “Oceans and their nearby regions are also highly vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate — a once-distant threat that is now very present and is affecting ecosystems and shoreline communities on every coast. Rising sea levels, coastal storms, and a growing risk of erosion and flooding are looming realities faced by seaside towns.” (photo by James Watt).

The Obama Administration has announced nearly $40 million in new programming to enhance resilience to climate change and advance clean-energy development by building regional, national, and local capacity in the Pacific Islands to prepare for and help mitigate the negative impacts of climate change. These steps come as sea level rise and the increased strength and frequency of catastrophic weather events pose an existential threat to places most vulnerable to their impacts, such as the Pacific Islands. In addition, and consistent with the theme of this year’s World Conservation Congress, the Administration is announcing policies to promote conservation and combat climate change by protecting wildlife, oceans, and lands.

(See the New York Times, Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun, Sept. 4, 2016, which describes how US coastal communities are already being impacted.)

The announcement coincided with the World Conservation Congress, which the United States hosted for the first time, President Obama addressed leaders from Pacific Island Conference of Leaders and the World Conservation Congress before traveling to Midway Atoll in the newly expanded Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

At Midway, the President discussed the reality that climate change is already altering the structure and function of ecosystems, changing the distribution and abundance of plants and animals, and in many cases limiting the ability of lands and waters to provide critical services to communities.

Throughout the week, senior Administration officials, including Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, attended the World Conservation Congress to discuss these steps and hear directly from leaders in government, business, NGOs, Indigenous groups, and youth groups on a broad range of topics related to conservation and climate change.

Building Regional, National, and Local Capacity to Prepare for Climate Change

The United States announced new investments over the coming years to build regional, national, and local capacity in the Pacific Islands to enhance resilience to climate change.

  • Building Regional Capacity through the Institutional Strengthening in Pacific Island Countries to Adapt to Climate Change (ISACC) ProgramUnder this program the United States intends to invest up to $5 million to support regional organizations, which are critical to address the collective needs of Pacific Islands. The program will leverage the substantial regional expertise and professional networks of the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). The program will embed climate-adaptation coordinators from the three partner organizations in eight Pacific Island countries to provide technical assistance and train key staff of national climate-change agencies.
  • Building National Capacity through the Climate Ready Program: The United States will be launching a new program to enhance the resilience of Pacific Island nations. Under the Climate Ready program, USAID is announcing $9 million to help national governments develop and implement policies that promote resilience, enhance access to climate finance, and improve national capacity to manage and monitor adaptation programs. Climate Ready will engage in twelve Pacific Island nations: the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
  • Building Local Capacity for Climate Change Adaptation: To enhance the capacities of communities and governments in the Pacific Islands to reduce the risk of disasters, the United States is announcing $15 million in disaster risk reduction programs next year, and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Pacific Island countries to prepare for natural disasters in the face of a changing climate.

In addition, seven new local recipients have been awarded a total of over $1.7 million by the Pacific American Climate Fund, which overall has provided 22 grants valued at $9.5 million to civil- society organizations across the Pacific Islands, to help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.  Specifically, the grants will support community-based farmers in Fiji, a women’s council in the Federated States of Micronesia, and vulnerable communities in Samoa, the Solomon Islands, and Palau.

Finally, USAID will continue its ongoing community-based initiatives that help particularly at-risk communities better prepare for and respond in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.  For example, in Vanuatu, USAID helped to reintroduce indigenous preparedness practices, such as safe water collection and food-preservation techniques that, in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Pam, enabled affected communities to survive until the arrival of international assistance.  In Papua New Guinea, USAID supports community- and provincial-level DRR investments that enable community members and policy makers to identify and mitigate the increasing effects of climate-change-induced hazards.  In Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, USAID trains school-aged children and community members in climate change and community preparedness.  And across the Pacific, USAID is investing to develop strong, local Red Cross Societies to help countries better manage disasters and to ensure that community-preparedness work is sustainable and fully institutionalized.

  • Contributing to the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Facility: The United States will contribute $8 million to a World Bank multi-donor trust fund to support the creation of a disaster and climate risk insurance facility for Pacific Islands (“the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) Facility”). The PCRAFI multi-donor trust fund will establish a long-term, sustainable insurance facility to provide climate- and disaster-risk insurance products to the Pacific Islands countries. It will also support technical assistance to these countries and related regional organizations to bolster capacity to assess and manage climate and disaster risks, with the overall objective of strengthening the financial resilience of Pacific Islands to climate and natural disaster risks.

Expanding Research on Climate Migration and Relocation

The United States is committed to engaging with the international research community to understand how to build a comprehensive approach to reduce the risk of climate-related displacement and manage the consequences of unplanned migration while also harnessing the opportunities of voluntary, planned migration and community relocation.  This research can help facilitate migration and community relocation as effective adaptation and coping strategies to the effects of climate change.

  • Symposium on Climate Migration: The Council on Environmental Quality, in collaboration with Hawaii and Alaska Sea Grant College Programs, the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai’i Manoa, and the National Sea Grant Law Center, will host a Symposium on Climate Displacement, Migration, and Relocation in December 2016. The Symposium will provide an opportunity for stakeholders, researchers, policy experts, indigenous leaders, and local, State, and Federal, government officials to explore legal and policy opportunities and challenges arising from climate displacement. This includes questions about how to plan for and implement voluntary migration and community-led relocation as adaptation strategies to the impacts of climate change, both domestically and in the context of the Pacific Islands.

Facilitating the Transition to a Cleaner Energy Future

Although they are not large emitters of greenhouse gases, the Pacific Islands are committed to combating climate change and to making major changes in their energy profiles as part of their Nationally Determined Contributions within the Paris Agreement.  The United States is committed to helping the Pacific Islands increase their resources and technical expertise in order to develop a comprehensive approach to energy transformation.

  • Energy Excelerator Targeting Half a Billion Investment in Clean Energy: The Energy Excelerator, a public-private partnership financed through the U.S. Navy and located in Hawaii, is setting the goal of achieving half a billion dollars in total private, follow-on investment in companies in its accelerator program, including those developing clean-energy technologies for the Pacific Islands, by September 2017. This effort builds upon the $350 million already raised by the accelerator’s 42 companies to create innovative clean-energy technologies to support Pacific Islands in transitioning to cleaner sources of energy, agriculture, and transportation. (Of the 42 companies, 23 are already actively deploying solutions in the Pacific Islands.)
  • Developing a New Pacific Energy Transition Program: The U.S. Department of Energy and the State Department are announcing the creation of a new Energy Transition Initiative Pacific Program to assist Pacific Islands with their transition away from imported fuels. Building on U.S. government technical assistance delivered to Caribbean nations under the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative, and ongoing successful Energy Transition Initiative efforts in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands, this new effort will bring the lessons learned and technical assistance to the Pacific Islands, including those setting ambitious targets to deploy clean energy.  To initiate this process, the Department of State, Department of Energy, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the Pacific Community (SPC) are announcing they will host a workshop to provide regional governments with concrete strategies for implementing an Energy Transition Initiative model in their countries, to identify specific areas for follow-on technical assistance and/or advisory support, and to facilitate access to Green Climate Fund and sources of finance for clean-energy projects. This workshop will support IRENA’s Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Lighthouses Initiative‎.

Promoting Conservation

The United States is continuing our leadership in addressing conservation challenges across the continent and globe, from the Hawaiian Islands, known as the “extinction capital” of the world, to Africa, where elephant poaching is a gruesome reality.  New, innovative approaches to conservation, including conservation finance and mapping technology, are taking hold, alongside of long-tested strategies like land protection and smart public-land management.

Releasing the State of Conservation in North America Report: The Department of Interior is releasing the State of Conservation in North America Report, which highlights progress in protecting 12 percent of all land in North America under the highest protection standards. The analysis and information in the report create a baseline for progress in protecting important ecosystems and can offer a catalyst for future conservation actions in the United States and with international partners.

Signing an Arrangement with the Vietnam Biodiversity Agency: The United States Geological Service will establish a partnership and conclude an arrangement with the Vietnam Biodiversity Agency to offer scientific and technical support of their effort to revise the Vietnam Biodiversity Conservation Law.  The arrangement will be a “Project Annex” to the 2010 MOU signed by DOI and the country of Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, which provided a framework for the exchange of scientific and technical knowledge with respect to earth sciences and effective management of natural resources.

Launching the Next Generation Conservation Ambassadors Program:The Department of Interior will also launch an international mentorship partnership, Next Generation Conservation Ambassadors, which will involve matching subject-matter experts from the Department of the Interior with young people working on various conservation-related topics in other countries. Topics may include but are not limited to water management, historical preservation, land management, relationships with indigenous people, climate change, wildlife monitoring, and habitat restoration. Mentors will provide input, counsel, and guidance for one year. This program will provide avenues to share our expertise and knowledge with emerging young leaders from other countries, furthering a vision for comprehensive, collaborative approaches toward addressing climate change.

Restoring Humpback Whale Populations around the Globe: NOAA will announce its final decision to remove 10 populations of humpback whales from the endangered species list, including almost all the populations found around North America.  This is continued evidence that U.S. efforts to protect and restore thousands of endangered animals and plants are working.

Supporting the Expansion of Large-Scale Marine Protected Areas: In 2015, NOAA and partners launched a multi-year effort to provide a foundation of publicly accessible baseline data and information from the deepwater areas of central and western U.S. Pacific Islands marine protected areas (MPAs). Recent and planned expeditions using vessels such as NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer are informing priority MPA science and management needs such as the identification and mapping of vulnerable marine habitats like high-density, deep-sea coral and sponge communities.  To continue to support the global expansion of large-scale MPAs, NOAA vessels in 2017 will total more than 200 days at sea; include complementary work across multiple research vessels;; and improve fundamental understanding of at least four existing MPAs.

Issuing a Unified Strategy with the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC): NOAA’s Ocean Service will later this month conclude a formal unified strategy with the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC), ensuring closer coordination between the U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) and international ocean observing and data networks such as the Global Ocean Observation System (GOOS) and the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS).  This will improve the acquisition, delivery and application of information on change in the marine environment, and support marine conservation and decision-making at the national, regional, and global levels.

Announcing New Grants to Combat Wildlife Trafficking: USAID and partner organizations will announce the grand prize winners of the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, whose innovative technology has the best potential to strengthen forensic evidence, reduce consumer demand or address the corruption that fuels poaching and illegal trafficking.  The Fish and Wildlife Service will announce $1.3 million in grant funding for combating wildlife trafficking. Up to 13 grants will contribute to efforts to reduce demand for illegally traded wildlife products. The grant program was developed as part of the Implementation Plan which resulted from President Obama’s 2015 release of the National Strategy for Combatting Wildlife Trafficking.